Single-molecule Sequencing of an Animal Mitochondrial Genome Reveals Chloroplast-like Architecture and Repeat-mediated Recombination.

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Molecular biology and evolution


washington; seattle; isb; genomics; Animals; Genome, Mitochondrial; Sequence Analysis, DNA; Genome, Chloroplast; Recombination, Genetic; Chloroplasts; Phylogeny


Recent advances in long-read sequencing technology have allowed for single-molecule sequencing of entire mitochondrial genomes, opening the door for direct investigation of the mitochondrial genome architecture and recombination. We used PacBio sequencing to reassemble mitochondrial genomes from two species of New Zealand freshwater snails, Potamopyrgus antipodarum and Potamopyrgus estuarinus. These assemblies revealed a ∼1.7 kb structure within the mitochondrial genomes of both species that was previously undetected by an assembly of short reads and likely corresponding to a large noncoding region commonly present in the mitochondrial genomes. The overall architecture of these Potamopyrgus mitochondrial genomes is reminiscent of the chloroplast genomes of land plants, harboring a large single-copy (LSC) region and a small single-copy (SSC) region separated by a pair of inverted repeats (IRa and IRb). Individual sequencing reads that spanned across the Potamopyrgus IRa-SSC-IRb structure revealed the occurrence of a "flip-flop" recombination. We also detected evidence for two distinct IR haplotypes and recombination between them in wild-caught P. estuarinus, as well as extensive intermolecular recombination between single-nucleotide polymorphisms in the LSC region. The chloroplast-like architecture and repeat-mediated mitochondrial recombination we describe here raise fundamental questions regarding the origins and commonness of inverted repeats in cytoplasmic genomes and their role in mitochondrial genome evolution.


Institute for Systems Biology