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A Nuclear Gene of Eubacterial Origin in Euglena gracilis Reflects Cryptic Endosymbioses During Protist Evolution

Katrin Henze, Abdelfattah Badr, Michael Wettern, Rudiger Cerff and William Martin
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Vol. 92, No. 20 (Sep. 26, 1995), pp. 9122-9126
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2368422
Page Count: 5
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A Nuclear Gene of Eubacterial Origin in Euglena gracilis Reflects Cryptic Endosymbioses During Protist Evolution
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Abstract

Genes for glycolytic and Calvin-cycle glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH) of higher eukaryotes derive from ancient gene duplications which occurred in eubacterial genomes; both were transferred to the nucleus during the course of endosymbiosis. We have cloned cDNAs encoding chloroplast and cytosolic GAPDH from the early-branching photosynthetic protist Euglena gracilis and have determined the structure of its nuclear gene for cytosolic GAPDH. The gene contains four introns which possess unusual secondary structures, do not obey the GT-AG rule, and are flanked by 2- to 3-bp direct repeats. A gene phylogeny for these sequences in the context of eubacterial homologues indicates that euglenozoa, like higher eukaryotes, have obtained their GAPDH genes from eubacteria via endosymbiotic (organelle-to-nucleus) gene transfer. The data further suggest that the early-branching protists Giardia lamblia and Entamoeba histolytica-which lack mitochondria-and portions of the trypanosome lineage have acquired GAPDH genes from eubacterial donors which did not ultimately give rise to contemporary membrane-bound organelles. Evidence that "cryptic" (possibly ephemeral) endosymbioses during evolution may have entailed successful gene transfer is preserved in protist nuclear gene sequences.

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