Conservation and over-representation of G-quadruplex sequences in regulatory regions of mitochondrial DNA across distinct taxonomic sub-groups

Journal: Biochimie
Authors: Bohálová N., Dobrovolná M., Brázda V., Bidula S.
Year: 2022


G-quadruplexes have important regulatory roles in the nuclear genome but their distribution and potential roles in mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) are poorly understood. We analysed 11883 mtDNA sequences from 18 taxonomic sub-groups and identified their frequency and location within mtDNA. Large differences in both the frequency and number of putative quadruplex-forming sequences (PQS) were observed amongst all the organisms and PQS frequency was negatively correlated with an increase in evolutionary age. PQS were over-represented in the 3′UTRs, D-loops, replication origins, and stem loops, indicating regulatory roles for quadruplexes in mtDNA. Variations of the G-quadruplex-forming sequence in the conserved sequence block II (CSBII) region of the human D-loop were conserved amongst other mammals, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and fishes. This D-loop PQS was conserved in the duplicated control regions of some birds and reptiles, indicating its importance to mitochondrial function. The guanine tracts in these PQS also displayed significant length heterogeneity and the length of these guanine tracts were generally longest in bird mtDNA. This information provides further insights into how G4s may contribute to the regulation and function of mtDNA and acts as a database of information for future studies investigating mitochondrial G4s in organisms other than humans.

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