Afrobatrachian mitochondrial genomes: genome reorganization, gene rearrangement mechanisms, and evolutionary trends of duplicated and rearranged genesReport as inadecuate

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BMC Genomics

, 14:633

Comparative and evolutionary genomics


BackgroundMitochondrial genomic mitogenomic reorganizations are rarely found in closely-related animals, yet drastic reorganizations have been found in the Ranoides frogs. The phylogenetic relationships of the three major ranoid taxa Natatanura, Microhylidae, and Afrobatrachia have been problematic, and mitogenomic information for afrobatrachians has not been available. Several molecular models for mitochondrial mt gene rearrangements have been proposed, but observational evidence has been insufficient to evaluate them. Furthermore, evolutionary trends in rearranged mt genes have not been well understood. To gain molecular and phylogenetic insights into these issues, we analyzed the mt genomes of four afrobatrachian species Breviceps adspersus, Hemisus marmoratus, Hyperolius marmoratus, and Trichobatrachus robustus and performed molecular phylogenetic analyses. Furthermore we searched for two evolutionary patterns expected in the rearranged mt genes of ranoids.

ResultsExtensively reorganized mt genomes having many duplicated and rearranged genes were found in three of the four afrobatrachians analyzed. In fact, Breviceps has the largest known mt genome among vertebrates. Although the kinds of duplicated and rearranged genes differed among these species, a remarkable gene rearrangement pattern of non-tandemly copied genes situated within tandemly-copied regions was commonly found. Furthermore, the existence of concerted evolution was observed between non-neighboring copies of triplicated 12S and 16S ribosomal RNA regions.

ConclusionsPhylogenetic analyses based on mitogenomic data support a close relationship between Afrobatrachia and Microhylidae, with their estimated divergence 100 million years ago consistent with present-day endemism of afrobatrachians on the African continent. The afrobatrachian mt data supported the first tandem and second non-tandem duplication model for mt gene rearrangements and the recombination-based model for concerted evolution of duplicated mt regions. We also showed that specific nucleotide substitution and compositional patterns expected in duplicated and rearranged mt genes did not occur, suggesting no disadvantage in employing these genes for phylogenetic inference.

KeywordsMitochondrial genome Gene rearrangement Concerted evolution Substitution rate Selection Afrobatrachia Ranoides Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-1471-2164-14-633 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Atsushi Kurabayashi - Masayuki Sumida


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