We studied variation of GC contents among plastid (Pt) genomes of green plants. In the green plants, the GC contents of the whole Pt genomes range from 42.14 to 28.81%. These values are similar to those observed in the mitochondrial (Mt) genomes of the green plants, however, the GC contents in the Pt genomes are not related to those in the Mt genomes or the nuclear (Nc) genomes. In addition, some compositional properties of the three types of genomes are different. Thus, it is suggested that the GC contents of the Pt genomes are maintained independently of the other genomes within a cell. We found that the compositional bias toward AT is strong at the third codon position and in intergenic spacer (IGS) regions in the Pt genomes, and the GC contents (GC3 and GCIGS) at these sites are generally similar within each genome. Additionally, the GC3 and GCIGS are strongly related to the whole-genome GC content. Therefore, the interspecific variation of the GC contents in the Pt genomes is suggested to be mainly caused by the variation of the GC3 and GCIGS, both of which are considered to be under weak selective constraints. Using a maximum likelihood approach, we estimated equilibrium GC3 (eqGC3) of 12 genes in the land-plant Pt genomes. We found an increase in eqGC3 after the divergence of liverworts. These results suggest that genome-wide factors such as GC mutational bias are important for the biased base composition in the Pt genomes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Molecular Biology