A tertiary plastid gains RNA editing in its new host

Christopher J Jackson, Sebastian G Gornik, Ross F Waller
Molecular Biology and Evolution 2013, 30 (4): 788-92
Dinoflagellates are known for their development of highly aberrant organelle genetic systems. Both their plastid and mitochondrial genomes are extremely reduced in gene number and rearranged into numerous unconventional genomic elements. Transcription processes are also elaborately modified including extensive RNA editing and trans-splicing. Some dinoflagellates have replaced their original plastid through serial endosymbiotic events. Karlodinium veneficum is such an example that now contains a haptophyte plastid. This tertiary plastid provides a case of a more conventional genetic system introduced into a cellular environment with a known penchant for genetic oddities. Here, we show that K. veneficum plastid transcripts undergo extensive substitutional editing. The substitution types are more diverse than those seen in most other plastids but are similar to those of dinoflagellate organelles. There is no evidence for RNA editing of plastid-encoded transcripts from extant haptophytes, suggesting that K. veneficum plastid editing developed after the uptake of the tertiary endosymbiont.

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