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Characterization of Cytoplasmic and Nuclear Genomes in the Colorless Alga Polytoma: II. General Characterization of Organelle Nucleic Acids

Chi-Hung Siu, Hewson Swift and Kwen-Sheng Chiang
The Journal of Cell Biology
Vol. 69, No. 2 (May, 1976), pp. 371-382
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1607771
Page Count: 12
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Characterization of Cytoplasmic and Nuclear Genomes in the Colorless Alga Polytoma: II. General Characterization of Organelle Nucleic Acids
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Abstract

Polytoma obtusum has a main band DNA (α) with a buoyant density in CsCl of ρ = 1.711 g/ml and a light DNA satellite (β) with ρ = 1.682 g/ml. β-DNA was substantially enriched in a fraction containing small leucoplast fragments and some mitochondria, which was obtained in a pellet sedimenting between 3,000 g and 5,000 g. A crude mitochondrial pellet was also obtained by sedimenting at 12,000 g to recover particulates remaining in the supernate after 10 min at 5,000 g. This fraction contained a third DNA component (γ) with ρ = 1.714 g/ml. We have concluded that the leucoplasts of P. obtusum contain the β-DNA (1.682) and the mitochondria possess the γ-component (1.714). Two distinct classes of ribosomes were isolated and separated by sucrose density gradients, a major 79S species and a minor species at 75S. The major species possessed the 25S and 18S ribosomal RNA (rRNA), characteristic of cytoplasmic ribosomes, and these particles co-sedimented in sucrose gradients with the 79S cytoplasmic ribosomes of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. The minor species was present in about 2% of the total ribosomal population but showed an eight-to ninefold enrichment in the leucoplast pellet, suggesting that it was of organelle origin. These 73S particles had RNA components migrating very closely with the 18S and 25S species of the 79S ribosomes, but the base composition of the rRNA from these two classes of ribosomes was significantly different; the rRNA from the 79S ribosomes had a G+C mole ratio of 50.0%, while the rRNA from the 73S class had a ratio of 47.5%. By comparison, chloroplast ribosomes of C. reinhardtii were found to sediment at 70S and contain rRNA molecules of 23S and 16S, with a G + C content of 51.0%. These findings support the concept that the Polytoma leucoplast possesses characteristic genetic and protein-forming systems.

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