Tracing Plant Mitochondrial DNA Evolution: Rearrangements of the Ancient Mitochondrial Gene Cluster trnA-trnT-nad7 in Liverwort Phylogeny

Abstract

Whereas frequent recombination characterizes flowering plant mitochondrial genomes, some mitochondrial gene arrangements may, in contrast, be conserved between streptophyte algae and early land plant clades (bryophytes). Here we explore the evolutionary fate of the mitochondrial gene arrangement trnA-trnT-nad7, which is conserved among the alga Chara, the moss Physcomitrella, and the liverwort Marchantia, although trnT is inverted in orientation in the latter. Surprisingly, we now find that the Chara-type gene arrangement is generally conserved in mosses, but that trnT is lacking between trnA and nad7 in all simple-thalloid and leafy (jungermanniid) liverworts. The ancient gene continuity trnA-trnT-nad7 is, however, conserved in Blasia, representing the sister lineage to all other complex-thalloid (marchantiid) liverworts. The recombinogenic insertion of short sequence stretches, including nad5 and rps7 pseudogene fragments copied from elsewhere in the liverwort mtDNA, likely mediated a subsequent inversion of trnT and flanking sequences in a basal grade of marchantiid liverworts, which was then followed by an independent secondary loss of trnT in derived marchantiid taxa later in evolution. In contrast to the previously observed extreme degree of coding sequence conservation and the assumed absence of active recombination in Marchantia mtDNA, this now reveals a surprisingly dynamic evolution of marchantiid liverwort mitochondrial genomes.

DOI: 10.1007/s00239-008-9114-4

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@article{Wahrmund2008TracingPM, title={Tracing Plant Mitochondrial DNA Evolution: Rearrangements of the Ancient Mitochondrial Gene Cluster trnA-trnT-nad7 in Liverwort Phylogeny}, author={Ute Wahrmund and Milena Groth-Malonek and Volker Knoop}, journal={Journal of Molecular Evolution}, year={2008}, volume={66}, pages={621-629} }