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The mitochondrial genomes of two nemerteans, Cephalothrix sp (Nemertea: Palaeonemertea) and Paranemertes cf. peregrina (Nemertea: Hoplonemertea)

Journal article
Authors Hai-Xia Chen
Per Sundberg
H. Y. Wu
S. C. Sun
Published in Molecular Biology Reports
Volume 38
Issue 7
Pages 4509-4525
ISSN 0301-4851
Publication year 2011
Published at Department of Zoology
Department of Zoology, Zoomorphology
Pages 4509-4525
Language en
Keywords mitochondrial genome, nemertean, codon usage, gene order, transfer-rna genes, phylogenetic position, secondary structures, nucleotide-sequence, parallel evolution, DNA-sequence, codon usage, organization, metazoa, form
Subject categories Biological Sciences


The mitochondrial genome sequences were determined for two species of nemerteans, Cephalothrix sp. (15,800 bp sequenced, near-complete) and Paranemertes cf. peregrina (14,558 bp, complete). As seen in most metazoans, the genomes encode 13 protein, 2 ribosomal RNA and 22 transfer RNA genes. The nucleotide composition is strongly biased toward A and T, as is typical for metazoan mtDNAs. There is also a significant strand skew in the distribution of these nucleotides, with the coding strand being richer in T than A and in G than C. All genes are transcribed in the same direction except for trnP and trnT, which is consistent with that reported for Cephalothrix hongkongiensis and Lineus viridis. Gene arrangement of Cephalothrix sp. is identical to that of C. hongkongiensis, while in P. cf. peregrina it is similar to L. viridis, but differs significantly from the three Cephalothrix species in the position of four protein-coding genes and seven tRNAs. Some protein-coding genes have 3' end stem-loop structures, which may allow mRNA processing without flanking tRNAs. The major non-coding regions observed in the two genomes with potential to form stem-loop structures may be involved in the initiation of replication or transcription. The average Ka/Ks values, varying from 0.12 to 0.89, are markedly different among the 13 mitochondrial protein-coding genes, suggesting that there may exist different selective pressure among mitochondrial genes of nemerteans.

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