Evolution of the rpoB-psbZ region in fern plastid genomes: notable structural rearrangements and highly variable intergenic spacers

Lei Gao; Zhou, Yuan; Zhi-Wei Wang; Ying-Juan Su; Ting Wang
January 2011
BMC Plant Biology;2011, Vol. 11 Issue 1, p64
Academic Journal
Background: The rpoB-psbZ (BZ) region of some fern plastid genomes (plastomes) has been noted to go through considerable genomic changes. Unraveling its evolutionary dynamics across all fern lineages will lead to clarify the fundamental process shaping fern plastome structure and organization. Results: A total of 24 fern BZ sequences were investigated with taxon sampling covering all the extant fern orders. We found that: (i) a tree fern Plagiogyria japonica contained a novel gene order that can be generated from either the ancestral Angiopteris type or the derived Adiantum type via a single inversion; (ii) the trnY-trnE intergenic spacer (IGS) of the filmy fern Vandenboschia radicans was expanded 3-fold due to the tandem 27-bp repeats which showed strong sequence similarity with the anticodon domain of trnY; (iii) the trnY-trnE IGSs of two horsetail ferns Equisetum ramosissimum and E. arvense underwent an unprecedented 5-kb long expansion, more than a quarter of which was consisted of a single type of direct repeats also relevant to the trnY anticodon domain; and (iv) ycf66 has independently lost at least four times in ferns. Conclusions: Our results provided fresh insights into the evolutionary process of fern BZ regions. The intermediate BZ gene order was not detected, supporting that the Adiantum type was generated by two inversions occurring in pairs. The occurrence of Vandenboschia 27-bp repeats represents the first evidence of partial tRNA gene duplication in fern plastomes. Repeats potentially forming a stem-loop structure play major roles in the expansion of the trnY-trnE IGS.


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