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Mol Biochem Parasitol 2000 Dec 01;1112:415-24. doi: 10.1016/s0166-6851(00)00334-0.
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Mitochondrial genetic code in cestodes.

Nakao M , Sako Y , Yokoyama N , Fukunaga M , Ito A .

The flatworm mitochondrial genetic code, which has been used for all species of the Platyhelminthes, is mainly characterized by AUA codon for isoleucine, AAA codon for asparagine and UAA codon for tyrosine. In eight species of cestodes (Echinococcus multilocularis, Echinococcus granlosus, Taenia solium Taenia saginata, Taenia hydatigena, Taenia crassiceps, Hymenolepis nama and Mesocestoides corti), the cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI) genes were partially sequenced to verify this genetic code. Comparison of the COI-encoding nucleotide sequences with those of human, sea urchin, fruit fly, nematode and yeast indicated that the assignments of AUA and AAA codons are adequate for cestodes. In addition, the nucleotide sequences of ATPase subunit 6 (ATP6) gene and its flanking region were compared to examine initiation and stop codons. In the related species of T. solium and T. saginata, the deduced amino acid sequences of ATP6 were homogeneous; however, the conversion of initiation codon AUG into GUG was observed in T. saginata. We also found the similar conversion in T. crassiceps. The C-terminal sequences of putative ATP6 proteins were highly conserved among the eight species and the stop codon UAG was altered to UAA in all Taenia species. The features of the gene-junctional region between NADH dehydrogenase subunit 4 (ND4) and glutamine tRNA (tRNAGln) genes also supported that UAA serves as a stop codon. Based on these results, we propose that the flatworm mitochondrial code should be modified for cestodes, particularly, in an initiating methionine codon (GUG) and a terminating codon (UAA).

PubMed ID: 11163447
Article link: Mol Biochem Parasitol

Genes referenced: LOC100887844 LOC105436960 LOC575780 LOC577219 LOC581395 LOC587800 mt-nd4