Large dsDNA-containing chlorella viruses encode a pyrimidine dimer- specific glycosylase (PDG) that initiates repair of UV-induced pyrimidine dimers. The PDG enzyme is a homologue of the bacteriophage T4-encoded endonuclease V. The pdg gene was cloned and sequenced from 42 chlorella viruses isolated over a 12-year period from diverse geographic regions. Surprisingly, the pdg gene from 15 of these 42 viruses contain a 98- nucleotide intron that is 100% conserved among the viruses and another 4 viruses contain an 81-nucleotide intron, in the same position, that is nearly 100% identical (one virus differed by one base). In contrast, the nucleotides in the pdg coding regions (exons) from the intron-containing viruses are 84 to 100% identical. The introns in the pdg gene have 5'-AG/GTATGT and 3'- TTGCAG/AA splice site sequences which are characteristic of nuclear-located, spliceosomal processed pre-mRNA introns. The 100% identity of the 98- nucleotide intron sequence in the 15 viruses and the near-perfect identity of an 81-nucleotide intron sequence in another 4 viruses imply strong selective pressure to maintain the DNA sequence of the intron when it is in the pdg gene. However, the ability of intron-plus and intron-minus viruses to repair UV-damaged DNA in the dark was nearly identical. These findings contradict the widely accepted dogma that intron sequences are more variable than exon sequences.
- Chlorella viruses
- DNA repair
- Pyrimidine dimer-specific glycosylase
- dsDNA virus
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology