Evolutionary dynamics of cryptophyte plastid genomes

Jong Im Kim, Christa E. Moore, John M. Archibald, Debashish Bhattacharya, Gangman Yi, Hwan Su Yoon, Woongghi Shin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Cryptophytes are an ecologically important group of largely photosynthetic unicellular eukaryotes. This lineage is of great interest to evolutionary biologists because their plastids are of red algal secondary endosymbiotic origin and the host cell retains four different genomes (host nuclear, mitochondrial, plastid, and red algal nucleomorph). Here, we report a comparative analysis of plastid genomes from six representative cryptophyte genera. Four newly sequenced cryptophyte plastid genomes of Chroomonas mesostigmatica, Ch. placoidea, Cryptomonas curvata, and Storeatula sp. CCMP1868 share a number of features including synteny and gene content with the previously sequenced genomes of Cryptomonas paramecium, Rhodomonas salina, Teleaulax amphioxeia, and Guillardia theta. Our analysis of these plastid genomes reveals examples of gene loss and intron insertion. In particular, the chlB/chlL/chlN genes, which encode light-independent (dark active) protochlorophyllide oxidore-ductase (LIPOR) proteins have undergone recent genelossand pseudogenization in cryptophytes. Comparison of phylogenetic trees based on plastid and nuclear genome data sets showthe introduction, via secondary endosymbiosis, of a red algal derived plastid in a lineage of chlorophyll-c containing algae. This event was followed by additional rounds of eukaryotic endosym-bioses that spread the red lineage plastid to diverse groups such as haptophytes and stramenopiles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1859-1872
Number of pages14
JournalGenome biology and evolution
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jul 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


  • Cryptophyte
  • Horizontal gene transfer
  • Plastid genome

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