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Parallel Evolution of the Genetic Code in Arthropod Mitochondrial Genomes

AuthorsAbascal, Federico ; Posada, David; Knight, Robin D.; Zardoya, Rafael
Issue Date25-Apr-2006
PublisherPublic Library of Science
CitationPLoS Biology 4(5) : e127 (2006)
AbstractThe genetic code provides the translation table necessary to transform the information contained in DNA into the language of proteins. In this table, a correspondence between each codon and each amino acid is established: tRNA is the main adaptor that links the two. Although the genetic code is nearly universal, several variants of this code have been described in a wide range of nuclear and organellar systems, especially in metazoan mitochondria. These variants are generally found by searching for conserved positions that consistently code for a specific alternative amino acid in a new species. We have devised an accurate computational method to automate these comparisons, and have tested it with 626 metazoan mitochondrial genomes. Our results indicate that several arthropods have a new genetic code and translate the codon AGG as lysine instead of serine (as in the invertebrate mitochondrial genetic code) or arginine (as in the standard genetic code). We have investigated the evolution of the genetic code in the arthropods and found several events of parallel evolution in which the AGG codon was reassigned between serine and lysine. Our analyses also revealed correlated evolution between the arthropod genetic codes and the tRNA-Lys/-Ser, which show specific point mutations at the anticodons. These rather simple mutations, together with a low usage of the AGG codon, might explain the recurrence of the AGG reassignments.
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File Description SizeFormat 
FigureS1.pdfFigure S1: Phylogenetic Tree Used to Test for Correlated Evolution125,95 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
FigureS2.pdfFigure S2: Secondary Structure of tRNA-Lys2,99 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
FigureS3.pdfFigure S3: Secondary Structure of tRNA-Ser2,98 MBAdobe PDFThumbnail
ProtocolS1.docProtocol S1: Correlated Evolution of the Genetic Code and the tRNA-Lys/-Ser Anticodons40 kBMicrosoft WordView/Open
ProtocolS2.docProtocol S2: GC Content and Absence of AGG in Diptera and Lepidoptera Orders19,5 kBMicrosoft WordView/Open
ProtocolS3.docProtocol S3: Secondary Structure of tRNA-Lys/-Ser25,5 kBMicrosoft WordView/Open
TableS1.docTable S1: AGG and TCG Usage in Species with GC-Content at Third Position of Codon Lower than 10%49,5 kBMicrosoft WordView/Open
mitochondrial.pdfFull Text515,27 kBAdobe PDFThumbnail
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