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Broad genomic and transcriptional analysis reveals a highly derived genome in dinoflagellate mitochondria

Overview of attention for article published in BMC Biology, September 2007
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Broad genomic and transcriptional analysis reveals a highly derived genome in dinoflagellate mitochondria
Published in
BMC Biology, September 2007
DOI 10.1186/1741-7007-5-41
Pubmed ID

Christopher J Jackson, John E Norman, Murray N Schnare, Michael W Gray, Patrick J Keeling, Ross F Waller


Dinoflagellates comprise an ecologically significant and diverse eukaryotic phylum that is sister to the phylum containing apicomplexan endoparasites. The mitochondrial genome of apicomplexans is uniquely reduced in gene content and size, encoding only three proteins and two ribosomal RNAs (rRNAs) within a highly compacted 6 kb DNA. Dinoflagellate mitochondrial genomes have been comparatively poorly studied: limited available data suggest some similarities with apicomplexan mitochondrial genomes but an even more radical type of genomic organization. Here, we investigate structure, content and expression of dinoflagellate mitochondrial genomes. From two dinoflagellates, Crypthecodinium cohnii and Karlodinium micrum, we generated over 42 kb of mitochondrial genomic data that indicate a reduced gene content paralleling that of mitochondrial genomes in apicomplexans, i.e., only three protein-encoding genes and at least eight conserved components of the highly fragmented large and small subunit rRNAs. Unlike in apicomplexans, dinoflagellate mitochondrial genes occur in multiple copies, often as gene fragments, and in numerous genomic contexts. Analysis of cDNAs suggests several novel aspects of dinoflagellate mitochondrial gene expression. Polycistronic transcripts were found, standard start codons are absent, and oligoadenylation occurs upstream of stop codons, resulting in the absence of termination codons. Transcripts of at least one gene, cox3, are apparently trans-spliced to generate full-length mRNAs. RNA substitutional editing, a process previously identified for mRNAs in dinoflagellate mitochondria, is also implicated in rRNA expression. The dinoflagellate mitochondrial genome shares the same gene complement and fragmentation of rRNA genes with its apicomplexan counterpart. However, it also exhibits several unique characteristics. Most notable are the expansion of gene copy numbers and their arrangements within the genome, RNA editing, loss of stop codons, and use of trans-splicing.

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Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 74 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Germany 3 4%
Colombia 1 1%
Czechia 1 1%
United States 1 1%
Unknown 68 92%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Student > Ph. D. Student 19 26%
Researcher 19 26%
Student > Master 8 11%
Professor > Associate Professor 7 9%
Student > Doctoral Student 6 8%
Other 11 15%
Unknown 4 5%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 45 61%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 14 19%
Environmental Science 4 5%
Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutical Science 2 3%
Unspecified 1 1%
Other 1 1%
Unknown 7 9%