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Open Access Publications from the University of California

The complete mitochondrial genome of Articulate Brachiopod Terebratal ia transversa


We have sequenced the complete mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) of the articulate brachiopod Terebratalia transversa. The circular genome is 14,291 bp in size, relatively small compared to other published metazoan mtDNAs. The 37 genes commonly found in animal mtDNA are present; the size decrease is due to the truncation of several tRNA, rRNA, and protein genes, to some nucleotide overlaps, and to a paucity of non-coding nucleotides. Although the gene arrangement differs radically from those reported for other metazoans, some gene junctions are shared with two other articulate brachiopods, Laqueus rubellus and Terebratulina retusa. All genes in the T. transversa mtDNA, unlike those in most metazoan mtDNAs reported, are encoded by the same strand. The A+T content (59.1%) is low for a metazoan mtDNA, and there is a high propensity for homopolymer runs and a strong base-compositional strand bias. The coding strand is quite G+T-rich, a skew that is shared by the confamilial (laqueid) species L. rubellus, but opposite to that found in T. retusa, a cancellothyridid. These compositional skews are strongly reflected in the codon usage patterns and the amino acid compositions of the mitochondrial proteins, with markedly different usage observed between T. retusa and the two laqueids. This observation, plus the similarity of the laqueid non-coding regions to the reverse complement of the non-coding region of the cancellothyridid, suggest that an inversion that resulted in a reversal in the direction of first-strand replication has occurred in one of the two lineages. In addition to the presence of one non-coding region in T. transversa that is comparable to those in the other brachiopod mtDNAs, there are two others with the potential to form secondary structures; one or both of these may be involved in the process of transcript cleavage.

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