Genome-wide analysis of core cell cycle genes in the unicellular green alga Ostreococcus tauri.

The cell cycle has been extensively studied in various organisms, and the recent access to an overwhelming amount of genomic data has given birth to a new integrated approach called comparative genomics. Comparing the cell cycle across species shows that its regulation is evolutionarily conserved; the best-known example is the pivotal role of cyclin-dependent kinases in all the eukaryotic lineages hitherto investigated. Interestingly, the molecular network associated with the activity of the CDK-cyclin complexes is also evolutionarily conserved, thus, defining a core cell cycle set of genes together with lineage-specific adaptations. In this paper, we describe the core cell cycle genes of Ostreococcus tauri, the smallest free-living eukaryotic cell having a minimal cellular organization with a nucleus, a single chloroplast, and only one mitochondrion. This unicellular marine green alga, which has diverged at the base of the green lineage, shows the minimal yet complete set of core cell cycle genes described to date. It has only one homolog of CDKA, CDKB, CDKD, cyclin A, cyclin B, cyclin D, cyclin H, Cks, Rb, E2F, DP, DEL, Cdc25, and Wee1. We have also added the APC and SCF E3 ligases to the core cell cycle gene set. We discuss the potential of genome-wide analysis in the identification of divergent orthologs of cell cycle genes in different lineages by mining the genomes of evolutionarily important and strategic organisms.

Robbens, S., Khadaroo, B., Camasses, A., Derelle, E., Ferraz, C., Inzé, D., Van de Peer, Y., Moreau, H. (2005) Genome-wide analysis of core cell cycle genes in the unicellular green alga Ostreococcus tauri. Mol. Biol. Evol. 22(3):589-97.

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