Mitochondrial Genome Evolution in Pelagophyte Algae

Genome Biol Evol. 2021 Mar 1;13(3):evab018. doi: 10.1093/gbe/evab018.


The Pelagophyceae are marine stramenopile algae that include Aureoumbra lagunensis and Aureococcus anophagefferens, two microbial species notorious for causing harmful algal blooms. Despite their ecological significance, relatively few genomic studies of pelagophytes have been carried out. To improve understanding of the biology and evolution of pelagophyte algae, we sequenced complete mitochondrial genomes for A. lagunensis (CCMP1510), Pelagomonas calceolata (CCMP1756), and five strains of Aureoc. anophagefferens (CCMP1707, CCMP1708, CCMP1850, CCMP1984, and CCMP3368) using Nanopore long-read sequencing. All pelagophyte mitochondrial genomes assembled into single, circular mapping contigs between 39,376 bp (P. calceolata) and 55,968 bp (A. lagunensis) in size. Mitochondrial genomes for the five Aureoc. anophagefferens strains varied slightly in length (42,401-42,621 bp) and were 99.4-100.0% identical. Gene content and order were highly conserved between the Aureoc. anophagefferens and P. calceolata genomes, with the only major difference being a unique region in Aureoc. anophagefferens containingDNA adenine and cytosine methyltransferase (dam/dcm) genes that appear to be the product of lateral gene transfer from a prokaryotic or viral donor. Although the A. lagunensis mitochondrial genome shares seven distinct syntenic blocks with the other pelagophyte genomes, it has a tandem repeat expansion comprising ∼40% of its length, and lacks identifiable rps19 and glycine tRNA genes. Laterally acquired self-splicing introns were also found in the 23S rRNA (rnl) gene of P. calceolata and the coxI gene of the five Aureoc. anophagefferens genomes. Overall, these data provide baseline knowledge about the genetic diversity of bloom-forming pelagophytes relative to nonbloom-forming species.

PMID:33675661 | DOI:10.1093/gbe/evab018