The structure, functions, and evolution of cellular organelles are reviewed. The mitochondrial genomes of eukaryotes differ considerably in size and structural organization mainly due to the length variation in noncoding regions and the presence of introns. The mitochondrial genomes of angiosperms are the largest and most complicated. Gene content in eukaryotic mitochondrial genomes is similar. They usually encode all types of rRNA, a complete or partial complement of tRNA, and a limited number of proteins essential for mitochondrial functions. In all eukaryotes studied, mitochondrial genomes code for two highly hydrophobic proteins involved in respiration, cytochrome b and subunit 1 of cytochrome oxidase. Genome structure and gene content in plastids, mainly in higher plant chloroplasts, are highly conserved. Plastid genomes of algae are more variable in gene composition and contain several unique genes absent in the chloroplast DNA of higher plants. Plastid genomes encode proteins involved in transcription and translation, as well as proteins of the photosynthetic apparatus. Both types of cellular organelles are supposed to be of endosymbiotic origin. Modern plastids originate from a cyanobacterial ancestor. Alpha-proteobacteria, especially the most mitochondrion-like rickettsia, gave rise to mitochondria. The origin of plastids of higher plants and green algae as a result of primary endo-symbiosis and that of other algal lineages by secondary endosymbiosis are briefly discussed.
Russian Journal of Genetics – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 10, 2005
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