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The evolution and expression of RBCL in holoparasitic sister-genera Harveya and Hyobanche (Orobanchaceae)

Randle, Christopher P., Wolfe, Andrea D.
American journal of botany 2005 v.92 no.9 pp. 1575-1585
ribulose-bisphosphate carboxylase, plastid DNA, pseudogenes, messenger RNA, open reading frames, Harveya, transpiration, gene expression, operon, natural selection, photosynthesis, plant taxonomy, parasitic plants
The evolution of holoparasitism decreases the adaptive value of genes maintaining the photosynthetic apparatus. These may become pseudogenes through insertion or deletion events resulting in frameshift mutations, or by the evolution of premature stop codons. The holoparasitic sister genera Harveya and Hyobanche have undergone alternate pathways of evolution and expression at the plastid locus rbcL. An open reading frame in all but a single species of Harveya is maintained by purifying selection and is expressed. However, the function of Rubisco in this putative holoparasite is unknown. Conversely, Hyobanche has undergone rbcL pseudogene formation, and comparison of synonymous and nonsynonymous rates of evolution indicates that selection has not played a role in its evolution. This is complicated by the following findings: multiple pseudogene copies of rbcL exist in tissues of Hyobanche, rbcL transcripts also encode pseudogenes, and the large subunit is present in some tissues of HYOBANCHE: We hypothesize that the rbcL operon is in a state of degradation as may be expected in a holoparasite and is not endogenously expressed. Rather, the large subunit may be taken up from the host plants, and accumulate in tissues as a result of transpiration.