Unusually long palindromes are abundant in mitochondrial control regions of insects and nematodes.
Arunkumar KP, Nagaraju J
PLOS One (2006)
Category: mitochondrial DNA ¤ Added: Jan 21, 2007 ¤ Rating: ◊◊
BACKGROUND: Palindromes are known to be involved in a variety of biological processes. In the present investigation we carried out a comprehensive analysis of palindromes in the mitochondrial control regions (CRs) of several animal groups to study their frequency, distribution and architecture to gain insights into the origin of replication of mtDNA. METHODOLOGY/PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Many species of Arthropoda, Nematoda, Mollusca and Annelida harbor palindromes and inverted repeats (IRs) in their CRs. Lower animals like cnidarians and higher animal groups like chordates are almost devoid of palindromes and IRs. The study revealed that palindrome occurrence is positively correlated with the AT content of CRs, and that IRs are likely to give rise to longer palindromes. CONCLUSIONS/SIGNIFICANCE: The present study attempts to explain possible reasons and gives in silico evidence for absence of palindromes and IRs from CR of vertebrate mtDNA and acquisition and retention of the same in insects. Study of CRs of different animal phyla uncovered unique architecture of this locus, be it high abundance of long palindromes and IRs in CRs of Insecta and Nematoda, or short IRs of 10-20 nucleotides with a spacer region of 12-14 bases in subphylum Chelicerata, or nearly complete of absence of any long palindromes and IRs in Vertebrata, Cnidaria and Echinodermata.