Genes and Processed Paralogs Co-exist in Plant Mitochondria

Argelia Cuenca Navarro, Gitte Petersen, Ole Seberg, Anne Hoppe Jahren

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RNA-mediated gene duplication has been proposed to create processed paralogs in the plant mitochondrial genome. A processed paralog may retain signatures left by the maturation process of its RNA precursor, such as intron removal and no need of RNA editing. Whereas it is well documented that an RNA intermediary is involved in the transfer of mitochondrial genes to the nucleus, no direct evidence exists for insertion of processed paralogs in the mitochondria (i.e., processed and un-processed genes have never been found simultaneously in the mitochondrial genome). In this study, we sequenced a region of the mitochondrial gene 1, and identified a number of taxa were two different copies of the region co-occur in the mitochondria. The two 1 paralogs differed in their (a) presence or absence of a group II intron, and (b) number of edited sites. Thus, this work provides the first evidence of co-existence of processed paralogs and their precursors within the plant mitochondrial genome. In addition, mapping the presence/absence of the paralogs provides indirect evidence of RNA-mediated gene duplication as an essential process shaping the mitochondrial genome in plants.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number3-4
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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