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The first mitochondrial genomes of endosymbiotic rhabdocoels illustrate evolutionary relaxation of atp8 and genome plasticity in flatworms

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The first three mitochondrial (mt) genomes of endosymbiotic turbellarian flatworms are characterised for the rhabdocoels Graffilla buccinicola, Syndesmis echinorum and S. kurakaikina. Interspecific comparison of the three newly obtained sequences and the only previously characterised rhabdocoel, the free-living species Bothromesostoma personatum, reveals high mt genomic variability, including numerous rearrangements. The first intrageneric comparison within rhabdocoels shows that gene order is not fully conserved even between congeneric species. Atp8, until recently assumed absent in flatworms, was putatively annotated in two sequences. Selection pressure was tested in a phylogenetic framework and is shown to be significantly relaxed in this and another protein-coding gene: cox1. If present, atp8 appears highly derived in platyhelminths and its functionality needs to be addressed in future research. Our findings for the first time allude to a large degree of undiscovered (mt) genomic plasticity in rhabdocoels. It merits further attention whether this variation is correlated with a symbiotic lifestyle. Our results illustrate that this phenomenon is widespread in flatworms as a whole and not exclusive to the better-studied neodermatans.
Tijdschrift: International journal of biological macromolecules
ISSN: 0141-8130
Volume: 162
Pagina's: 454 - 469
Jaar van publicatie:2020
Trefwoorden:Platyhelminthes