Abundant sequence variation around the mitochondrial origin of replication in the human opportunistic yeast pathogen Candida albicans from a tropical island in China Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • Due to its haploid nature and its predominantly uniparental mode of inheritance, the mitochondrial genome has been analyzed extensively in population and evolutionary genetic studies of eukaryotes. Among the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) fragments, the region surrounding the origin of replication is the most commonly studied. However, most of the studies have focused on animals and little is known about the extent and patterns of sequence variation around the mtDNA origin of replication (mtOri) in fungi. In this study, we found abundant variation in a 597bp fragment surrounding the mtOri for 53 isolates of the pathogenic yeast Candida albicans obtained from a diverse group of hosts in Hainan, a tropical island of China. Within this DNA fragment, a total of 17 haplotypes were found for the 53 isolates. The extent of sequence variation for this group of strains was similar to that for 24 strains that represented the global nuclear genotype diversity. In contrast to those in animals where there were significant biases in favor of transitional mutations (e.g. the transition to transversion ratio is about 20 in human mtDNA), our data showed a transition to transversion ratio of approximately 0.5 around mtOri in C. albicans. Our analysis revealed no apparent geographic pattern of sequence variation based on the birthplaces of the analyzed hosts. However, the sample from patients had a lower genotypic diversity than those from healthy hosts borne either in Hainan or elsewhere in China. Our results suggest that C. albicans mtDNA has a base substitution pattern different from its nuclear genome and that sequences from the mtOri region could enhance our understanding of C. albicans genome evolution and population structuring.

publication date

  • October 2007

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