Chlamydomonadalean green algae are no stranger to linear mitochondrial genomes, particularly members of the Reinhardtinia clade. At least nine different Reinhardtinia species are known to have linear mitochondrial DNAs (mtDNAs), including the model species Chlamydomonas reinhardtii. Thus, it is no surprise that some have suggested that the most recent common ancestor of the Reinhardtinia clade had a linear mtDNA. But the recent uncovering of circular-mapping mtDNAs in a range of Reinhardtinia algae, such as Volvox carteri and Tetrabaena socialis, has shed doubt on this hypothesis. Here, we explore mtDNA sequence and structure within the colonial Reinhardtinia algae Yamagishiella unicocca and Eudorina sp. NIES-3984, which occupy phylogenetically intermediate positions between species with opposing mtDNA mapping structures. Sequencing and gel electrophoresis data indicate that Y. unicocca has a linear monomeric mitochondrial genome with long (3?kb) palindromic telomeres. Conversely, the mtDNA of Eudorina sp., despite having an identical gene order to that of Y. unicocca, assembled as a circular-mapping molecule. Restriction digests of Eudorina sp. mtDNA supported its circular map, but also revealed a linear monomeric form with a matching architecture and gene order to the Y. unicocca mtDNA. Based on these data, we suggest that there have been at least three separate shifts in mtDNA conformation in the Reinhardtinia, and that the common ancestor of this clade had a linear monomeric mitochondrial genome with palindromic telomeres.
Journal: Genome biology and evolution