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Chloroplast DNA exists in two orientations

Nature volume 301, pages 9293 (06 January 1983) | Download Citation

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Abstract

An almost universal feature of the circular chloroplast genome is a large inverted repeat sequence, some 10–25 kilobase pairs (kb) in size, which separates the remainder of the molecule into single copy regions of 80 kb and 20 kb1–3. A number of physical properties—formation of head-to-head dimers1, copy-correction between the inverted repeat segments1,3,4, resistance to intramolecular recombinational loss1–3, and maintenance of a highly stable chloroplast genome resistant to rearrangement2—have been attributed to the presence of this large inverted repeat. However, one property which an inverted repeat might be expected to confer—reversal of polarity of the single copy sequences located between the repeats1—has not yet been demonstrated for the chloroplast genome. I now show that chloroplast DNA prepared from a single plant of common bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) consists of two equimolar populations of molecules differing only in the relative orientation of their single copy sequences. A model is presented to explain these results, and comparisons are made to similar cases of inversion heterogeneity in 2-micrometre plasmid DNA from yeast5,6 and in herpes simplex virus DNA7,8.

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Affiliations

  1. Carnegie Institution of Washington, Department of Plant Biology, Stanford, California 94305, USA

    • Jeffrey D. Palmer

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https://doi.org/10.1038/301092a0

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