, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 80-89

Many Independent Origins of trans Splicing of a Plant Mitochondrial Group II Intron

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Abstract

We examined the cis- vs. trans-splicing status of the mitochondrial group II intron nad1i728 in 439 species (427 genera) of land plants, using both Southern hybridization results (for 416 species) and intron sequence data from the literature. A total of 164 species (157 genera), all angiosperms, was found to have a trans-spliced form of the intron. Using a multigene land plant phylogeny, we infer that the intron underwent a transition from cis to trans splicing 15 times among the sampled angiosperms. In 10 cases, the intron was fractured between its 5′ end and the intron-encoded matR gene, while in the other 5 cases the fracture occurred between matR and the 3′ end of the intron. The 15 intron fractures took place at different time depths during the evolution of angiosperms, with those in Nymphaeales, Austrobaileyales, Chloranthaceae, and eumonocots occurring early in angiosperm evolution and those in Syringodium filiforme, Hydrocharis morsus-ranae, Najas, and Erodium relatively recently. The trans-splicing events uncovered in Austrobaileyales, eumonocots, Polygonales, Caryophyllales, Sapindales, and core Rosales reinforce the naturalness of these major clades of angiosperms, some of which have been identified solely on the basis of recent DNA sequence analyses.