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J Mol Biol. 1991 Apr 20;218(4):747-60.

Incipient mitochondrial evolution in yeasts. II. The complete sequence of the gene coding for cytochrome b in Saccharomyces douglasii reveals the presence of both new and conserved introns and discloses major differences in the fixation of mutations in evolution.

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Centre de Génétique Moléculaire du C.N.R.S., Laboratoire Propre Associé à l'Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Gif-sur-Yvette, France.


We have determined the complete sequence of the mitochondrial gene coding for cytochrome b in Saccharomyces douglasii. The gene is 6310 base-pairs long and is interrupted by four introns. The first one (1311 base-pairs) belongs to the group ID of secondary structure, contains a fragment open reading frame with a characteristic GIY ... YIG motif, is absent from Saccharomyces cerevisiae and is inserted in the same site in which introns 1 and 2 are inserted in Neurospora crassa and Podospora anserina, respectively. The next three S. douglasii introns are homologous to the first three introns of S. cerevisiae, are inserted at the same positions and display various degrees of similarity ranging from an almost complete identity (intron 2 and 4) to a moderate one (intron 3). We have compared secondary structures of intron RNAs, and nucleotide and amino acid sequences of cytochrome b exons and intron open reading frames in the two Saccharomyces species. The rules that govern fixation of mutations in exon and intron open reading frames are different: the relative proportion of mutations occurring in synonymous codons is low in some introns and high in exons. The overall frequency of mutations in cytochrome b exons is much smaller than in nuclear genes of yeasts, contrary to what has been found in vertebrates, where mitochondrial mutations are more frequent. The divergence of the cytochrome b gene is modular: various parts of the gene have changed with a different mode and tempo of evolution.

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