Recent insertion of a 52-kb mitochondrial DNA segment in the wheat lineage
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The assembly of a 1.3-Mb size region of the wheat genome has provided the opportunity to study a recent nuclear mitochondrial DNA insertion (NUMT). In the present study, we have studied two bacterial artificial chromosomes (BACs) and characterized a 52-kb NUMT segment from the tetraploid and hexaploid wheat BAC libraries. The conserved orthologous NUMT regions from tetraploid and hexaploid wheat Langdon and Chinese Spring shared identical gene haplotypes even though mutations (insertions, deletions, and substitutions) had occurred. The 52-kb NUMT was present in hexaploid variety Chinese Spring, but absent in variety Hope, by sequence comparison of their corresponding region. Amplifying the NUMT junctions using a set of the wheat materials including diploid, tetraploid, and hexaploid lines showed that none of the diploid wheat carried the region and only some tetraploid and hexaploid wheat were positive for the NUMT. Age estimation of the NUMT displayed the mean ages of Langdon NUMT and Chinese Spring NUMT to be 378,000 and 416,000 years ago, respectively. Reverse transcription PCR and sequencing of the nad7 gene showed 28 C → U RNA editing sites and four partial editing sites, as expected for mitochondrial DNA expression. Specific SNPs discriminated between cDNA from the nucleus and the mitochondria and suggested that the nuclear copy was not expressed. The mitochondrial DNA studied was inserted into the genome quite recently within the wheat lineage and gave rise to the non-coding nuclear nad7 gene. The NUMT segment could be lost and acquired frequently during the wheat evolution.
KeywordsWheat NUMT nad7 gene RNA editing Evolution
We thank Dr. Jing Wu for help in screening the high-density filters of tetraploid BAC library; Lingli Zheng, Lei Pan, and Guanhua Yang for their sequencing work; and Jiajie Wu and Qi Zuo for their sequence annotation assistance. The authors are grateful to Professor Rudi Appels for his contributions to the research in this manuscript. This research was supported by grants from the Ministry of Science and Technology of China (2006AA10A104) and Australia GRDC ET5.
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