The complete nucleotide sequence, gene organization, and genetic code of the mitochondrial genome of Paracentrotus lividus.
The 15,697-nucleotide sequence of Paracentrotus lividus mitochondrial DNA is reported. This genome codes for 2 rRNAs, 22 tRNAs, and 12 mRNAs which specify 13 subunits of the mitochondrial inner membrane respiratory complexes. The gene arrangement differs from that of other animal species. The two ribosomal genes 16 S and 12 S are separated by a stretch of about 3.3 kilobase pairs which contains the ND1 and ND2 genes and a cluster of 15 tRNA genes. The ND4L coding sequence is not contained in the ND4 mRNA but has its own mRNA which maps between the tRNA(Arg) and the Co II genes. The main noncoding region, located in the tRNA gene cluster, is only 132 nucleotides long, but contains sequences homologous to the mammalian displacement loop. Other short noncoding sequences are interspersed in the genome: they contain a conserved AT consensus which probably has a role in transcription or RNA processing. As regards the mitochondrial genetic code, the codons AGA and AGG specify serine and are recognized by a tRNA with a GCU anticodon, whereas AUA and AAA code for isoleucine and asparagine rather than for methionine and lysine. Except for ND4L which starts with AUC and ATPase 8 which starts with GUG, AUG is used as the initiation codon. In 11 out of 13 cases the genes terminate with the canonical stop codons UAA or UAG. These observations suggest that during invertebrate evolution each lineage developed its own mechanism of mitochondrial DNA replication and transcription and of RNA processing and translation.