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Evidence that a 1.6 kilobase region of Neurospora mtDNA was derived by insertion of part of the LaBelle mitochondrial plasmid.

ABSTRACT: The LaBelle mitochondrial plasmid hybridizes to a small region of the mtDNA of different Neurospora species. Here, we show that the region of homology encompasses 1385 bp of plasmid sequence and 1649 bp of mtDNA sequence. Several findings--that the region of homology is not found in the mtDNAs of other organisms, that it includes the C-terminus of the ORF encoding the plasmid DNA polymerase, and that the ORF sequence in the mtDNA is interrupted by insertions--suggest that the region was part of the plasmid that integrated into mtDNA prior to the divergence of Neurospora species. Since the LaBelle plasmid has been found in only one Neurospora strain, we infer that the plasmid was lost subsequently from most strains. The LaBelle plasmid is transcribed by the host Neurospora mitochondrial RNA polymerase and the major promoter is located upstream of the long ORF, within the region of homology to mtDNA. A promoter used for the transcription of the mitochondrial small rRNA is found at a corresponding position in Neurospora mtDNA and may have been acquired via integration of the plasmid sequence. Our results provide evidence that an autonomous infectious element may contribute to sequences that functionally constitute an organism's mtDNA.

PROVIDER: S-EPMC312097 | BioStudies | 1992-01-01T00:00:00Z

REPOSITORIES: biostudies

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