Mitochondrial genomes in the iconic reindeer lichens: Architecture, variation, and synteny across multiple evolutionary scales

Hoffman J.R., Karol K.G., Ohmura Y., Pogoda C.S., Keepers K.G., McMullin R.T. & Lendemer J.C.
115(2): 187–205
Variation in mitochondrial genome composition across intraspecific, interspecific, and higher taxonomic scales has been little studied in lichen obligate symbioses. Cladonia is one of the most diverse and ecologically important lichen genera, with over 500 species representing an array of unique morphologies and chemical profiles. Here, we assess mitochondrial genome diversity and variation in this flagship genus, with focused sampling of two clades of the “true” reindeer lichens, Cladonia subgenus Cladina, and additional genomes from nine outgroup taxa. We describe composition and architecture at the gene and the genome scale, examining patterns in organellar genome size in larger taxonomic groups in Ascomycota. Mitochondrial genomes of Cladonia, Pilophorus, and Stereocaulon were consistently larger than those of Lepraria and contained more introns, suggesting a selective pressure in asexual morphology in Lepraria driving it toward genomic simplification. Collectively, lichen mitochondrial genomes were larger than most other fungal life strategies, reaffirming the notion that coevolutionary streamlining does not correlate to genome size reductions. Genomes from Cladonia ravenelii and Stereocaulon pileatum exhibited ATP9 duplication, bearing paralogs that may still be functional. Homing endonuclease genes (HEGs), though scarce in Lepraria, were diverse and abundant in Cladonia, exhibiting variable evolutionary histories that were sometimes independent of the mitochondrial evolutionary history. Intraspecific HEG diversity was also high, with C. rangiferina especially bearing a range of HEGs with one unique to the species. This study reveals a rich history of events that have transformed mitochondrial genomes of Cladonia and related genera, allowing future study alongside a wealth of assembled genomes. Keywords: Ascomycetes; Cladoniaceae; fungi; North America; organelle; transposable elements.
Wednesday, 24 May 2023 11:42