Abstract

An open reading frame (pelA) specifying a homolog of pelota and DOM34, proteins required for meiotic cell division in Drosophila melanogaster and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, respectively, has been cloned, sequenced and identified from the archaebacterium Sulfolobus solfataricus. The S. solfataricus PelA protein is about 20% identical with pelota, DOM34 and the hypothetical protein R74.6 of Caenorhabditis elegans. The presence of a pelota homolog in archaebacteria implies that the meiotic functions of the eukaryotic protein were co-opted from, or added to, other functions existing before the emergence of eukaryotes. The nuclear localization signal and negatively charged carboxy-terminus characteristic of eukaryotic pelota-like proteins are absent from the S. solfataricus homolog, and hence may be indicative of the acquired eukaryotic function(s).

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