Genome sequence of the ultrasmall unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae 10D.
Small, compact genomes of ultrasmall unicellular algae provide information on the basic and essential genes that support the lives of photosynthetic eukaryotes, including higher plants. Here we report the 16,520,305-base-pair sequence of the 20 chromosomes of the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae 10D as the first complete algal genome. We identified 5,331 genes in total, of which at least 86.3% were expressed. Unique characteristics of this genomic structure include: a lack of introns in all but 26 genes; only three copies of ribosomal DNA units that maintain the nucleolus; and two dynamin genes that are involved only in the division of mitochondria and plastids. The conserved mosaic origin of Calvin cycle enzymes in this red alga and in green plants supports the hypothesis of the existence of single primary plastid endosymbiosis. The lack of a myosin gene, in addition to the unexpressed actin gene, suggests a simpler system of cytokinesis. These results indicate that the C. merolae genome provides a model system with a simple gene composition for studying the origin, evolution and fundamental mechanisms of eukaryotic cells.
Complete sequence and analysis of the plastid genome of the unicellular red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae.
The complete nucleotide sequence of the plastid genome of the unicellular primitive red alga Cyanidioschyzon merolae 10D (Cyanidiophyceae) was determined. The genome is a circular DNA composed of 149,987 bp with no inverted repeats. The G + C content of this plastid genome is 37.6%. The C. merolae plastid genome contains 243 genes, which are distributed on both strands and consist of 36 RNA genes (3 rRNAs, 31 tRNAs, tmRNA, and a ribonuclease P RNA component) and 207 protein genes, including unidentified open reading frames. The striking feature of this genome is the high degree of gene compaction; it has very short intergenic distances (approximately 40% of the protein genes were overlapped) and no genes have introns. This genome encodes several genes that are rarely found in other plastid genomes. A gene encoding a subunit of sulfate transporter (cysW) is the first to be identified in a plastid genome. The cysT and cysW genes are located in the C. merolae plastid genome in series, and they probably function together with other nuclear-encoded components of the sulfate transport system. Our phylogenetic results suggest that the Cyanidiophyceae, including C. merolae, are a basal clade within the red lineage plastids.