Zygnema circumcarinatum UTEX 1559 chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes provide insight into land plant evolution

Lauren M. Orton, Elisabeth Fitzek, Elisabeth Fitzek, Xuehuan Feng, W. Scott Grayburn, Jeffrey P. Mower, Jeffrey P. Mower, Kan Liu, Kan Liu, Chi Zhang, Chi Zhang, Melvin R. Duvall, Yanbin Yin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The complete chloroplast and mitochondrial genomes of Charophyta have shed new light on land plant terrestrialization. Here, we report the organellar genomes of the Zygnema circumcarinatum strain UTEX 1559, and a comparative genomics investigation of 33 plastomes and 18 mitogenomes of Chlorophyta, Charophyta (including UTEX 1559 and its conspecific relative SAG 698-1a), and Embryophyta. Gene presence/absence was determined across these plastomes and mitogenomes. A comparison between the plastomes of UTEX 1559 (157 548 bp) and SAG 698-1a (165 372 bp) revealed very similar gene contents, but substantial genome rearrangements. Surprisingly, the two plastomes share only 85.69% nucleotide sequence identity. The UTEX 1559 mitogenome size is 215 954 bp, the largest among all sequenced Charophyta. Interestingly, this large mitogenome contains a 50 kb region without homology to any other organellar genomes, which is flanked by two 86 bp direct repeats and contains 15 ORFs. These ORFs have significant homology to proteins from bacteria and plants with functions such as primase, RNA polymerase, and DNA polymerase. We conclude that (i) the previously published SAG 698-1a plastome is probably from a different Zygnema species, and (ii) the 50 kb region in the UTEX 1559 mitogenome might be recently acquired as a mobile element.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3361-3373
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of experimental botany
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jun 11 2020


  • Charophyte green algae
  • Zygnema
  • chloroplast
  • embryophyta
  • evolution
  • genomes
  • land plants
  • mitochondria
  • mitogenome
  • plastome
  • terrestrialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Plant Science


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