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Algae > Volume 17(1); 2002 > Article
Algae 2002;17(1): 59-68. doi: https://doi.org/10.4490/ALGAE.2002.17.1.059
The Chloroplast rpl23 Gene Cluster of Spirogyra maxima (Charophyceae) Shares Many Similarities with the Angiosperm rpl23 Operon
Jungho Lee, James R. Manhart
Department of Biology, Texas A&M University
A phylogenetic affinity between charophytes and embryophytes (land plants) has been explained by a few chloroplast genomic characters including gene and intron (Manhart and Palmer 1990; Baldauf et. al. 1990; Lew and Manhart 1993). Here we show that a charophyte, Spirogyra maxima, has the largest operon of angiosperm chloroplast genomes, rpl23 operon (trnI-rpl23-rpl2-rpl22-rps3-rpl16-rpl14-rps8-infA-rpl36-rps11-rpoA) containing both embryophyte introns, rpl16.i and rpl2.i. The rpl23 gene cluster of Spirogyra contains a distinct eubacteral promoter sequence upstream of rpl23, which is the first gene of the green algal rpl23 gene cluster. This sequence is completely absent in angiosperms but is present in noon-flowering plants. The results imply that, in the rpl23 gene cluster, early charophytes had at least two promoters, one upstream of trnI and another upstream of rpl23, which partially or completely lost its function in land plants. A comparison of gene clusters of prokaryotes, algal chloroplast DNAs and land plant cpDNAs indicated a loss of numerous genes in chlorophyll a+b eukaryotes. A phylogenetic analysis using presence/absence of genes and introns as characters produced trees with a strongly supported clade containing chlorophyll a+b eukaryotes. Spirogyra and embryophytes formed a clade chade characterized by the loss of rpl5 and rps9 and the gain of trnI (CAU) and introns in rpl2 and rpl16. The analyses support the hypothesis that the rpl23 gene cluster and the rpl2 and rpl16 introns of land plants originated from a common ancestor of Spirogyra and land plants.
Key words: Charophytes, Chloroplast, embryophytes, Introns, operon, promoter, rpl2, rpl16, rpl23, Spirogyra

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