Evidence for the transfer of DNA from the chloroplast to the mitochondrion has been reported in many higher plants and, in most cases, the transferred chloroplast genes do not have the ability to encode functional products as a consequence of base substitutions and/or multiple rearrangements. We reported previously that the sequence of one end of a chloroplast-derived (ct-derived) fragment of DNA that contained the rps19 and trnH genes has been maintained in most gramineous plants and that its presence seems to be correlated with gene expression in this region. In the present study, we have investigated whether or not the ct-derived sequences in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) from some gramineous plants and species of Oryza are conserved, and whether or not such conservation is related to gene expression in these regions. We identified two junctions between ct-derived and mitochondrial sequences that were conserved among some gramineous plants. Around these regions, we found a ct-derived gene for tRNA and the promoter of a mitochondrial gene on the ct-derived sequences, respectively, and these regions were transcribed through the junctions. This result indicates that the junctions and/or regions that are transcribed and functional in mitochondria have been strongly conserved and maintained during their evolution. In Oryza, some junctions between ct-derived and mitochondrial sequences were conserved and other junctions were not. These variations seem to have been caused by deletions and/or rearrangements, and appear to be specific to the type of genome. In the case of Oryza, the timing of deletions and/or rearrangements of ct-derived sequences is likely to have coincided with the divergence of the various genome types.
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