Genomic structure of the luciferase gene and phylogenetic analysis in the Hotaria-group fireflies.


The luminescent fireflies have species specific flash patterns, being recognized as sexual communication. The luciferase gene is the sole enzyme responsible for bioluminescence. We describe here the complete nucleotide sequence and the exon-intron structure of the luciferase gene of the Hotaria-group fireflies, H. unmunsana, H. papariensis and H. tsushimana. The luciferase gene of the Hotaria-group firefly including the known H. parvula spans 1950 bp and consisted of six introns and seven exons coding for 548 amino acid residues, suggesting highly conserved structure among the Hotaria-group fireflies. Although only one luciferase gene was cloned from H. papariensis, each of the two sequences of the gene was found in H. unmunsana (U1 and Uc) and H. tsushimana (T1 and T2). The amino acid sequence divergence among H. unmunsana, H. papariensis, and H. tsushimana only ranged from zero to three amino acid residues, but H. parvula differed by 10-11 amino acid residues from the other Hotaria-group fireflies, suggesting a divergent relationship of this species. Phylogenetic analysis using the deduced amino acid sequences of the luciferase gene resulted in a monophyletic group in the Hotaria excluding H. parvula, suggesting a close relationship among H. unmunsana, H. papariensis and H. tsushimana. Additionally, we also analyzed the mitochondrial cytochrome oxidase I (COI) gene of the Hotaria-group fireflies. The deduced amino acid sequence of the COI gene of H. unmunsana was identical to that of H. papariensis and H. tsushimana, but different by three positions from H. parvula. In terms of nucleotide sequences of the COI gene, intraspecific sequence divergence was sometimes larger than interspecies level, and phylogenetic analysis placed the three species into monophyletic groups unresolved among them, but excluded H. parvula. In conclusion, our results suggest that H. unmunsana, H. papariensis and H. tsushimana are very closely related or might be an identical species, at least based on the luciferase and COI genes.

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@article{Choi2003GenomicSO, title={Genomic structure of the luciferase gene and phylogenetic analysis in the Hotaria-group fireflies.}, author={Yong Soo Choi and Jin Sik Bae and Kwang Sik Lee and Seong Ryul Kim and Iksoo Kim and Jong Gill Kim and Keun Young Kim and Sam Eun Kim and Hirobumi Suzuki and Sang Mong Lee and Hung Dae Sohn and Byung Rae Jin}, journal={Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology}, year={2003}, volume={134 2}, pages={199-214} }