An enigmatic GAPDH gene in the symbiotic dinoflagellate genus Symbiodinium and its related species (the order Suessiales): possible lateral gene transfer between two eukaryotic algae, dinoflagellate and euglenophyte

Protist. 2003 Oct;154(3-4):443-54. doi: 10.1078/143446103322454176.


A group of unicellular eukaryotic algae, the dinoflagellates, are known to possess two types of gene for glyceraldehyde-3-phosphate dehydrogenase (GAPDH). An enzyme encoded by one type of gene possibly plays a key role in the glycolytic pathway of the cytosol and the other in the Calvin cycle of plastids. In the present study, an additional type of GAPDH gene (GapC3) was found in the symbiotic dinoflagellates, Symbiodinium spp. and their related species, Gymnodinium simplex and Polarella glacialis, all of which belong to the order Suessiales. Since no intracellular translocation signal is found at both amino- and carboxy-termini of its deduced amino acid sequence, the protein is predicted to function in the cytosol. However, it may not be involved in glycolysis due to the presence of an amino acid signature that allows binding for NADP+. It is likely that dinoflagellate species, other than Suessiales investigated in this study, lack this type of GAPDH. Phylogenetic analysis placed GapC3 from the Suessialean species firmly in the clade composed of GAPDH from spirochetes, euglenophytes (cytosolic type) and kinetoplastids (glycosomal type). Specifically, this enigmatic GAPDH gene in dinoflagellates was closely related to its cytosolic counterpart in euglenophytes. It has been previously reported that plastid-targeted (Calvin cycle) GAPDH genes of the dinoflagellates Pyrocystis spp. and that of the euglenophyte Euglena gracilis also seem to share a common ancestor. It appears highly likely that at least two genes (cytosolic and plastid-targeted GAPDH genes) have been laterally transferred between these two eukaryotic algal groups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Dinoflagellida / classification
  • Dinoflagellida / enzymology*
  • Dinoflagellida / genetics*
  • Gene Transfer, Horizontal*
  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases / genetics*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Symbiosis*


  • Glyceraldehyde-3-Phosphate Dehydrogenases

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AB106681
  • GENBANK/AB106682
  • GENBANK/AB106683
  • GENBANK/AB106684
  • GENBANK/AB106685
  • GENBANK/AB106686
  • GENBANK/AB106687
  • GENBANK/AB106688
  • GENBANK/AB106689
  • GENBANK/AB106690
  • GENBANK/AB106691
  • GENBANK/AB106692
  • GENBANK/AB106693
  • GENBANK/AB106694
  • GENBANK/AB106695
  • GENBANK/AB106696
  • GENBANK/AB106697
  • GENBANK/AB106698
  • GENBANK/AB106699
  • GENBANK/AB106700
  • GENBANK/AB106701
  • GENBANK/AB106702
  • GENBANK/AB106703
  • GENBANK/AB106704
  • GENBANK/AB106705