Going, going, not quite gone: nucleomorphs as a case study in nuclear genome reduction.
Archibald JM, Lane CE
J Hered (2009) 100: 582-90.
Category: chloroplast, chloroplast DNA, endosymbionts, eukaryotes, evolution, genomics, mitochondria-evolution, nucleus, Organelle biogenesis ¤ Added: Nov 13, 2009 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
Nucleomorphs are the relic nuclei of algal endosymbionts that became permanent fixtures inside nonphotosynthetic eukaryotic host cells. These unusual organelles exist in only 2 lineages, the cryptophytes, which possess nucleomorphs and plastids (chloroplasts) derived from the uptake of a red algal endosymbiont, and the chlorarachniophytes, which harbor green algal derived nucleomorphs and plastids. Despite having evolved independently of one another, the nucleomorph genomes of cryptophytes and chlorarachniophytes are strikingly similar in size and basic structure. Both are <1 Mbp in size-the smallest nuclear genomes known-and are composed of only 3 chromosomes, each with its own subtelomeric rDNA repeats. Nucleomorph-containing algae thus represent an interesting system in which to study genome and chromosome evolution in eukaryotes. Here, we provide an overview of nucleomorph genome biology and focus on new information gleaned from comparisons of complete nucleomorph genome sequences, both within and between cryptophytes and chlorarachniophytes. Such comparisons provide fascinating insight into the evolution of these highly derived organelles and, more generally, the potential causes and consequences of genome reduction in eukaryotes.
Keywords: Cell Nucleus / Chromosomes / Cryptophyta / Evolution, Molecular / Genome / Plastids / Symbiosis