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Plastid NDH Pseudogenization and Gene Loss in a Recently Derived Lineage from the Largest Hemiparasitic Plant Genus Pedicularis (Orobanchaceae)

First Author: Li X
Abstract: The plastid genome (plastome) is highly conserved in both gene order and content and has a lower mutation rate than the nuclear genome. However, the plastome is more variable in heterotrophic plants. To date, most such studies have investigated just a few species or only holoheterotrophic groups, and few have examined plastome evolution in recently derived lineages at an early stage of transition from autotrophy to heterotrophy. In this study, we investigated the evolutionary dynamics of plastomes in the monophyletic and recently derived Pedicularis sect. Cyathophora (Orobanchaceae). We obtained 22 new plastomes, 13 from the six recognized species of section Cyathophora, six from hemiparasitic relatives and three from autotrophic relatives. Comparative analyses of gene content, plastome structure and selection pressure showed dramatic differences among species in section Cyathophora and in Pedicularis as a whole. In comparison with autotrophic relatives and other Pedicularis spp., we found that the inverted repeat (IR) region in section Cyathophora had expansions to the small single-copy region, with a large expansion event and two independent contraction events. Moreover, NA(D)H dehydrogenase, accD and ccsA have lost function multiple times, with the function of accD being replaced by nuclear copies of an accD-like gene in Pedicularis spp. The ccsA and ndhG genes may have evolved under selection in association with IR expansion/contraction events. This study is the first to report high plastome variation in a recently derived lineage of hemiparasitic plants and therefore provides evidence for plastome evolution in the transition from autotrophy to heterotrophy.
Contact the author: Li DZ; Yu WB
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PubYear: May 2021
Volume: online
Publication Name: Plant and Cell Physiology
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