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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Molecular analysis of the split cox1 gene from the Basidiomycota Agrocybe aegerita: relationship of its introns with homologous Ascomycota introns and divergence levels from common ancestral copies.

The Basidiomycota Agrocybe aegerita (Aa) mitochondrial cox1 gene (6790 nucleotides), encoding a protein of 527aa (58377Da), is split by four large subgroup IB introns possessing site-specific endonucleases assumed to be involved in intron mobility. When compared to other fungal COX1 proteins, the Aa protein is closely related to the COX1 one of the Basidiomycota Schizophyllum commune (Sc). This clade reveals a relationship with the studied Ascomycota ones, with the exception of Schizosaccharomyces pombe (Sp) which ranges in an out-group position compared with both higher fungi divisions. When comparison is extended to other kingdoms, fungal COX1 sequences are found to be more related to algae and plant ones (more than 57.5% aa similarity) than to animal sequences (53.6% aa similarity), contrasting with the previously established close relationship between fungi and animals, based on comparisons of nuclear genes. The four Aa cox1 introns are homologous to Ascomycota or algae cox1 introns sharing the same location within the exonic sequences. The percentages of identity of the intronic nucleotide sequences suggest a possible acquisition by lateral transfers of ancestral copies or of their derived sequences. These identities extend over the whole intronic sequences, arguing in favor of a transfer of the complete intron rather than a transfer limited to the encoded ORF. The intron i4 shares 74% of identity, at the nucleotidic level, with the Podospora anserina (Pa) intron i14, and up to 90.5% of aa similarity between the encoded proteins, i.e. the highest values reported to date between introns of two phylogenetically distant species. This low divergence argues for a recent lateral transfer between the two species. On the contrary, the low sequence identities (below 36%) observed between Aa i1 and the homologous Sp i1 or Prototheca wickeramii (Pw) i1 suggest a long evolution time after the separation of these sequences. The introns i2 and i3 possessed intermediate percentages of identity with their homologous Ascomycota introns. This is the first report of the complete nucleotide sequence and molecular organization of a mitochondrial cox1 gene of any member of the Basidiomycota division.[1]


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