When gene marriages don't work out: divorce by subfunctionalization

Trends Genet. 2007 Jun;23(6):270-2. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2007.03.010. Epub 2007 Apr 5.


We describe how a bifunctional gene, encoding two proteins by alternative splicing, arose when the chloroplast gene RPL32 integrated into an intron of the nuclear gene SODcp in an ancestor of mangrove and poplar trees. Mangrove retains the alternatively spliced chimeric gene, but in poplar it underwent duplication and complete subfunctionalization, through complementary structural degeneration, to re-form separate RPL32 and SODcp genes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Alternative Splicing*
  • Chloroplasts
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Gene Duplication*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
  • Introns
  • Phylogeny
  • Plant Proteins / chemistry
  • Plant Proteins / genetics
  • Plant Proteins / metabolism
  • Populus / genetics*
  • Rhizophoraceae / chemistry


  • Plant Proteins