Origin of an animal mitochondrial DNA polymerase subunit via lineage-specific acquisition of a glycyl-tRNA synthetase from bacteria of the Thermus-Deinococcus group

Trends Genet. 2001 Aug;17(8):431-3. doi: 10.1016/s0168-9525(01)02370-8.


Phylogenetic tree analysis shows that the accessory subunit animal mitochondrial DNA polymerase emerges as a result of horizontal transfer of the gene encoding glycyl-tRNA synthetase from a bacterium of the Thermus-Deinococcus group into the animal nuclear genome. This acquisition by a distinct eukaryotic lineage of a gene encoding a mitochondrial protein from a nonmitochondrial bacterial source underscores the contribution of different types of horizontal transfer event to the evolution of eukaryotes.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / chemistry*
  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase / genetics*
  • Drosophila melanogaster
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Glycine-tRNA Ligase / genetics*
  • Mitochondria / enzymology*
  • Models, Genetic
  • Phylogeny
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Xenopus laevis


  • DNA-Directed DNA Polymerase
  • Glycine-tRNA Ligase