Transfer RNA gene arrangement and codon usage in vertebrate mitochondrial genomes: a new insight into gene order conservation.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Mitochondrial (mt) gene arrangement has been highly conserved among vertebrates from jawless fishes to mammals for more than 500 million years. It remains unclear, however, whether such long-term persistence is a consequence of some constraints on the gene order. RESULTS: Based on the analysis of codon usage and tRNA gene positions, we suggest that tRNA gene order of the typical vertebrate mt-genomes may be important for their translational efficiency. The vertebrate mt-genome encodes 2 rRNA, 22 tRNA, and 13 transmembrane proteins consisting mainly of hydrophobic domains. We found that the tRNA genes specifying the hydrophobic residues were positioned close to the control region (CR), where the transcription efficiency is estimated to be relatively high. Using 47 vertebrate mt-genome sequences representing jawless fishes to mammals, we further found a correlation between codon usage and tRNA gene positions, implying that highly-used tRNA genes are located close to the CR. In addition, an analysis considering the asymmetric nature of mtDNA replication suggested that the tRNA loci that remain in single-strand for a longer time tend to have more guanine and thymine not suffering deamination mutations in their anticodon sites. CONCLUSIONS: Our analyses imply the existence of translational constraint acting on the vertebrate mt-gene arrangement. Such translational constraint, together with the deamination-related constraint, may have contributed to long-term maintenance of gene order.
Project description:The complete mitochondrial (mt) genomes of five subspecies of the Eurasian (Common) magpie <i>Pica pica</i> were determined for the first time. Lengths of the circular genomes comprise 13 protein-coding genes, two rRNA genes (for 12S rRNA and 16S rRNA), 22 tRNA genes, and the non-coding control region (CR). Gene content and lengths of the genomes (16,936-16,945?bp) are similar to typical vertebrate mt genomes. The subspecies studied differs by several single substitutions and indels, especially in the CR. The phylogenetic tree based on complete mt genomes shows a deep divergence of the two groups of subspecies which supports the proposed division into two distinct species: <i>P. pica</i> and <i>P. serica</i>.
Project description:Although modern vertebrate diversity is dominated by jawed vertebrates, early vertebrate assemblages were predominantly composed of jawless fishes. Hypotheses for this faunal shift and the Devonian decline of jawless vertebrates include predation and competitive replacement. The nature and prevalence of ecological interactions between jawed and jawless vertebrates are highly relevant to both hypotheses, but direct evidence is limited. Here, we use the occurrence and distribution of bite mark type traces in fossil jawless armoured heterostracans to infer predation interactions. A total of 41 predated specimens are recorded; their prevalence increases through time, reaching a maximum towards the end of the Devonian. The bite mark type traces significantly co-occur with jawed vertebrates, and their distribution through time is correlated with jawed vertebrate diversity patterns, particularly placoderms and sarcopterygians. Environmental and ecological turnover in the Devonian, especially relating to the nekton revolution, have been inferred as causes of the faunal shift from jawless to jawed vertebrates. Here, we provide direct evidence of escalating predation from jawed vertebrates as a potential contributing factor to the demise and extinction of ostracoderms.
Project description:Most assassin bugs are predators that act as important natural enemies of insect pests. Mitochondrial (mt) genomes of these insects are double-strand circular DNAs that encode 37 genes. In the present study, we explore the duplication and rearrangement of tRNA genes in the mt genome of Reduvius tenebrosus, the first mt genome from the subfamily Reduviinae. The gene order rearranges from CR (control region)-trnI-trnQ-trnM-ND2 to CR-trnQ-trnI2-trnI1-trnM-ND2. We identified 23 tRNA genes, including 22 tRNAs commonly found in insects and an additional trnI (trnI2), which has high sequence similarity to trnM. We found several pseudo genes, such as pseudo-trnI, pseudo-CR, and pseudo-ND2, in the hotspot region of gene rearrangement (between the control region and ND2). These features provided evidence that this novel gene order could be explained by the tandem duplication/random loss (TDRL) model. The tRNA duplication/anticodon mutation mechanism further explains the presence of trnI2, which is remolded from a duplicated trnM in the TDRL process (through an anticodon mutation of CAT to GAT). Our study also raises new questions as to whether the two events proceed simultaneously and if the remolded tRNA gene is fully functional. Significantly, the duplicated tRNA gene in the mitochondrial genome has evolved independently at least two times within assassin bugs.
Project description:Vertebrate dentitions originated in the posterior pharynx of jawless fishes more than half a billion years ago. As gnathostomes (jawed vertebrates) evolved, teeth developed on oral jaws and helped to establish the dominance of this lineage on land and in the sea. The advent of oral jaws was facilitated, in part, by absence of hox gene expression in the first, most anterior, pharyngeal arch. Much later in evolutionary time, teleost fishes evolved a novel toothed jaw in the pharynx, the location of the first vertebrate teeth. To examine the evolutionary modularity of dentitions, we asked whether oral and pharyngeal teeth develop using common or independent gene regulatory pathways. First, we showed that tooth number is correlated on oral and pharyngeal jaws across species of cichlid fishes from Lake Malawi (East Africa), suggestive of common regulatory mechanisms for tooth initiation. Surprisingly, we found that cichlid pharyngeal dentitions develop in a region of dense hox gene expression. Thus, regulation of tooth number is conserved, despite distinct developmental environments of oral and pharyngeal jaws; pharyngeal jaws occupy hox-positive, endodermal sites, and oral jaws develop in hox-negative regions with ectodermal cell contributions. Next, we studied the expression of a dental gene network for tooth initiation, most genes of which are similarly deployed across the two disparate jaw sites. This collection of genes includes members of the ectodysplasin pathway, eda and edar, expressed identically during the patterning of oral and pharyngeal teeth. Taken together, these data suggest that pharyngeal teeth of jawless vertebrates utilized an ancient gene network before the origin of oral jaws, oral teeth, and ectodermal appendages. The first vertebrate dentition likely appeared in a hox-positive, endodermal environment and expressed a genetic program including ectodysplasin pathway genes. This ancient regulatory circuit was co-opted and modified for teeth in oral jaws of the first jawed vertebrate, and subsequently deployed as jaws enveloped teeth on novel pharyngeal jaws. Our data highlight an amazing modularity of jaws and teeth as they coevolved during the history of vertebrates. We exploit this diversity to infer a core dental gene network, common to the first tooth and all of its descendants.
Project description:Glycosaminoglycans are sulfated polysaccharide molecules, essential for many biological processes. The 6-O sulfation of glycosaminoglycans is carried out by carbohydrate 6-O sulfotransferases (C6OSTs), previously named Gal/GalNAc/GlcNAc 6-O sulfotransferases. Here, for the first time, we present a detailed phylogenetic reconstruction, analysis of gene synteny conservation and propose an evolutionary scenario for the C6OST family in major vertebrate groups, including mammals, birds, nonavian reptiles, amphibians, lobe-finned fishes, ray-finned fishes, cartilaginous fishes, and jawless vertebrates. The C6OST gene expansion likely started early in the chordate lineage, giving rise to four ancestral genes after the divergence of tunicates and before the emergence of extant vertebrates. The two rounds of whole-genome duplication in early vertebrate evolution (1R/2R) only contributed two additional C6OST subtype genes, increasing the vertebrate repertoire from four genes to six, divided into two branches. The first branch includes CHST1 and CHST3 as well as a previously unrecognized subtype, CHST16 that was lost in amniotes. The second branch includes CHST2, CHST7, and CHST5. Subsequently, local duplications of CHST5 gave rise to CHST4 in the ancestor of tetrapods, and to CHST6 in the ancestor of primates. The teleost-specific gene duplicates were identified for CHST1, CHST2, and CHST3 and are result of whole-genome duplication (3R) in the teleost lineage. We could also detect multiple, more recent lineage-specific duplicates. Thus, the vertebrate repertoire of C6OST genes has been shaped by gene duplications and gene losses at several stages of vertebrate evolution, with implications for the evolution of skeleton, nervous system, and cell-cell interactions.
Project description:In gnathostomes, chemosensory receptors (CR) expressed in olfactory epithelia are encoded by evolutionarily dynamic gene families encoding odorant receptors (OR), trace amine-associated receptors (TAAR), V1Rs and V2Rs. A limited number of OR-like sequences have been found in invertebrate chordate genomes. Whether these gene families arose in basal or advanced vertebrates has not been resolved because these families have not been examined systematically in agnathan genomes.Petromyzon is the only extant jawless vertebrate whose genome has been sequenced. Known to be exquisitely sensitive to several classes of odorants, lampreys detect fewer amino acids and steroids than teleosts. This reduced number of detectable odorants is indicative of reduced numbers of CR gene families or a reduced number of genes within CR families, or both, in the sea lamprey. In the lamprey genome we identified a repertoire of 59 intact single-exon CR genes, including 27 OR, 28 TAAR, and four V1R-like genes. These three CR families were expressed in the olfactory organ of both parasitic and adult life stages.An extensive search in the lamprey genome failed to identify potential orthologs or pseudogenes of the multi-exon V2R family that is greatly expanded in teleost genomes, but did find intact calcium-sensing receptors (CASR) and intact metabotropic glutamate receptors (MGR). We conclude that OR and V1R arose in chordates after the cephalochordate-urochordate split, but before the diversification of jawed and jawless vertebrates. The advent and diversification of V2R genes from glutamate receptor-family G protein-coupled receptors, most likely the CASR, occurred after the agnathan-gnathostome divergence.
Project description:The assembly of the gnathostome bodyplan constitutes a formative episode in vertebrate evolutionary history, an interval in which the mineralized skeleton and its canonical suite of cell and tissue types originated. Fossil jawless fishes, assigned to the gnathostome stem-lineage, provide an unparalleled insight into the origin and evolution of the skeleton, hindered only by uncertainty over the phylogenetic position and evolutionary significance of key clades. Chief among these are the jawless anaspids, whose skeletal composition, a rich source of phylogenetic information, is poorly characterized. Here we survey the histology of representatives spanning anaspid diversity and infer their generalized skeletal architecture. The anaspid dermal skeleton is composed of odontodes comprising spheritic dentine and enameloid, overlying a basal layer of acellular parallel fibre bone containing an extensive shallow canal network. A recoded and revised phylogenetic analysis using equal and implied weights parsimony resolves anaspids as monophyletic, nested among stem-gnathostomes. Our results suggest the anaspid dermal skeleton is a degenerate derivative of a histologically more complex ancestral vertebrate skeleton, rather than reflecting primitive simplicity. Hypotheses that anaspids are ancestral skeletonizing lampreys, or a derived lineage of jawless vertebrates with paired fins, are rejected.
Project description:Groupers of the family Epinephelidae are a diverse and economically valuable group of reef fishes. To investigate the evolution of their mitochondrial genomes we characterized and compared these genomes among 22 species, 17 newly sequenced. Among these fishes we identified three distinct genome organizations, two of them never previously reported in vertebrates. In 19 of these species, mitochondrial genomes followed the typical vertebrate canonical organization with 13 protein-coding genes, 22 tRNAs, two rRNAs, and a non-coding control region. Differing from this, members of genus Variola have an extra tRNA-Ile between tRNA-Val and 16S rRNA. Evidence suggests that this evolved from tRNA-Val via a duplication event due to slipped strand mispairing during replication. Additionally, Cephalopholisargus has an extra tRNA-Asp in the midst of the control region, likely resulting from long-range duplication of the canonical tRNA-Asp through illicit priming of mitochondrial replication by tRNAs. Along with their gene contents, we characterized the regulatory elements of these mitochondrial genomes' control regions, including putative termination-associated sequences and conserved sequence blocks. Looking at the mitochondrial genomic constituents, rRNA and tRNA are the most conserved, followed by protein-coding genes, and non-coding regions are the most divergent. Divergence rates vary among the protein-coding genes, and the three cytochrome oxidase subunits (COI, II, III) are the most conserved, while NADH dehydrogenase subunit 6 (ND6) and the ATP synthase subunit 8 (ATP8) are the most divergent. We then tested the phylogenetic utility of this new mt genome data using 12 protein-coding genes of 48 species from the suborder Percoidei. From this, we provide further support for the elevation of the subfamily Epinephelinae to family Epinephelidae, the resurrection of the genus Hyporthodus, and the combination of the monotypic genera Anyperodon and Cromileptes to genus Epinephelus, and Aethaloperca to genus Cephalopholis.
Project description:The complete nucleotide sequence of the 14,771-bp-long mitochondrial (mt) DNA of a urochordate (Chordata)-the ascidian Halocynthia roretzi-was determined. All the Halocynthia mt-genes were found to be located on a single strand, which is rich in T and G rather than in A and C. Like nematode and Mytilus edulis mtDNAs, that of Halocynthia encodes no ATP synthetase subunit 8 gene. However, it does encode an additional tRNA gene for glycine (anticodon TCT) that enables Halocynthia mitochondria to use AGA and AGG codons for glycine. The mtDNA carries an unusual tRNA(Met) gene with a TAT anticodon instead of the usual tRNA(Met)(CAT) gene. As in other metazoan mtDNAs, there is not any long noncoding region. The gene order of Halocynthia mtDNA is completely different from that of vertebrate mtDNAs except for tRNA(His)-tRNA(Ser)(GCU), suggesting that evolutionary change in the mt-gene structure is much accelerated in the urochordate line compared with that in vertebrates. The amino acid sequences of Halocynthia mt-proteins deduced from their gene sequences are quite different from those in other metazoans, indicating that the substitution rate in Halocynthia mt-protein genes is also accelerated.
Project description:T lymphocytes and B lymphocytes are present in jawed vertebrates, including cartilaginous fishes, but not in jawless vertebrates or invertebrates. The origins of these lineages may be understood in terms of evolutionary changes in the structure and regulation of transcription factors that control lymphocyte development, such as PU.1. The identification and characterization of three members of the PU.1 family of transcription factors in a cartilaginous fish, Raja eglanteria, are described here. Two of these genes are orthologs of mammalian PU.1 and Spi-C, respectively, whereas the third gene, Spi-D, is a different family member. In addition, a PU.1-like gene has been identified in a jawless vertebrate, Petromyzon marinus (sea lamprey). Both DNA-binding and transactivation domains are highly conserved between mammalian and skate PU.1, in marked contrast to lamprey Spi, in which similarity is evident only in the DNA-binding domain. Phylogenetic analysis of sequence data suggests that the appearance of Spi-C may predate the divergence of the jawed and jawless vertebrates and that Spi-D arose before the divergence of the cartilaginous fish from the lineage leading to the mammals. The tissue-specific expression patterns of skate PU.1 and Spi-C suggest that these genes share regulatory as well as structural properties with their mammalian orthologs.