Algal genomes reveal evolutionary mosaicism and the fate of nucleomorphs

Curtis BA, Tanifuji G, Burki F, Gruber A, Irimia M, Maruyama S, Arias MC, Ball SG, Gile GH, Hirakawa Y, Hopkins JF, Kuo A, Rensing SA, Schmutz J, Symeonidi A, Elias M, Eveleigh RJM, Herman EK, Klute MJ, Nakayama T, Oborník M, Reyes-Prieto A, Armbrust EV, Aves SJ, Beiko RG, Coutinho P, Dacks JB, Durnford DG, Fast NM, Green BR, Grisdale CJ, Hempel F, Henrissat B, Höppner MP, Ishida KI, Kim E, Kořený L, Kroth PG, Liu Y, Malik SB, Maier UG, McRose D, Mock T, Neilson JAD, Onodera NT, Poole AM, Pritham EJ, Richards TA, Rocap G, Roy SW, Sarai C, Schaack S, Shirato S, Slamovits CH, Spencer DF, Suzuki S, Worden AZ, Zauner S, Barry K, Bell C, Bharti AK, Crow JA, Grimwood J, Kramer R, Lindquist E, Lucas S, Salamov A, McFadden GI, Lane CE, Keeling PJ, Gray MW, Grigoriev IV, Archibald JM

Nature 492 (7427) 59-65 [2012-12-00; online 2012-11-28]

Cryptophyte and chlorarachniophyte algae are transitional forms in the widespread secondary endosymbiotic acquisition of photosynthesis by engulfment of eukaryotic algae. Unlike most secondary plastid-bearing algae, miniaturized versions of the endosymbiont nuclei (nucleomorphs) persist in cryptophytes and chlorarachniophytes. To determine why, and to address other fundamental questions about eukaryote-eukaryote endosymbiosis, we sequenced the nuclear genomes of the cryptophyte Guillardia theta and the chlorarachniophyte Bigelowiella natans. Both genomes have >21,000 protein genes and are intron rich, and B. natans exhibits unprecedented alternative splicing for a single-celled organism. Phylogenomic analyses and subcellular targeting predictions reveal extensive genetic and biochemical mosaicism, with both host- and endosymbiont-derived genes servicing the mitochondrion, the host cell cytosol, the plastid and the remnant endosymbiont cytosol of both algae. Mitochondrion-to-nucleus gene transfer still occurs in both organisms but plastid-to-nucleus and nucleomorph-to-nucleus transfers do not, which explains why a small residue of essential genes remains locked in each nucleomorph.

PubMed 23201678

DOI 10.1038/nature11681

Crossref 10.1038/nature11681