Disproportional plastome-wide increase of substitution rates and relaxed purifying selection in genes of carnivorous Lentibulariaceae

Wicke S, Schäferhoff B, dePamphilis CW, Müller KF

Research article (journal)


Carnivorous Lentibulariaceae exhibit the most sophisticated implementation of the carnivorous syndrome in plants. Their unusual lifestyle coincides with distinct genomic peculiarities such as the smallest angiosperm nuclear genomes and extremely high nucleotide substitution rates across all genomic compartments. Here, we report the complete plastid genomes from each of the three genera Pinguicula, Utricularia, and Genlisea, and investigate plastome-wide changes in their molecular evolution as the carnivorous syndrome unfolds. We observe a size reduction by up to nine percent mostly due to the independent loss of genes for the plastid NAD(P)H dehydrogenase and altered proportions of plastid repeat DNA, as well as a significant plastome-wide increase of substitution rates and microstructural changes. Protein-coding genes across all gene classes show a disproportional elevation of non-synonymous substitutions, particularly in Utricularia and Genlisea. Significant relaxation of purifying selection relative to non-carnivores occurs in the plastid-encoded fraction of the photosynthesis ATP Synthase complex, the photosystem I, and in several other photosynthesis and metabolic genes. Shifts in selective regimes also affect housekeeping genes including the plastid-encoded polymerase, for which evidence for relaxed purifying selection was found once during the transition to carnivory, and a second time during the diversification of the family. Lentibulariaceae exhibit significantly enhanced rates of nucleotide substitution in most of the 130 non-coding regions. Various factors may underlie the observed patterns of relaxation of purifying selection and substitution rate increases, such as reduced net photosynthesis rates, alternative paths of nutrient uptake (including organic carbon), and impaired DNA repair mechanisms.

Details zur Publikation

Pages: 17
Release year: 2014
Language in which the publication is writtenEnglish
Link to the full text: http://mbe.oxfordjournals.org/content/early/2013/12/15/molbev.mst261.full.pdf?keytype=ref&ijkey=XYUHzzSp5zR7w00