The mitochondrial genome of Acropora tenuis (Cnidaria; Scleractinia) contains a large group I intron and a candidate control region

Madeleine J H Van Oppen, Julian Catmull, Brenda J. McDonald, Nikki R. Hislop, Paul J Hagerman, David J. Miller

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

91 Scopus citations


The complete nucleotide sequence of the mitochondrial genome of the coral Acropora tenuis has been determined. The 18,338 bp A. tenuis mitochondrial genome contains the standard metazoan complement of 13 protein-coding and two rRNA genes, but only the same two tRNA genes (trnM and trnW) as are present in the mtDNA of the sea anemone, Metridium senile. The A. tenuis nad5 gene is interrupted by a large group I intron which contains ten protein-coding genes and rns; M. senile has an intron at the same position but this contains only two protein-coding genes. Despite the large distance (about 11.5 kb) between the 5′-exon and 3′-exon boundaries, the A. tenuis nad5 gene is functional, as we were able to RT-PCR across the predicted intron splice site using total RNA from A. tenuis. As in M. senile, all of the genes in the A. tenuis mt genome have the same orientation, but their organization is completely different in these two zoantharians: The only common gene boundaries are those at each end of the group I intron and between trnM and rnl. Finally, we provide evidence that the rns-cox3 intergenic region in A. tenuis may correspond to the mitochondrial control region of higher animals. This region contains repetitive elements, and has the potential to form secondary structures of the type characteristic of vertebrate D-loops. Comparisons between a wide range of Acropora species showed that a long hairpin predicted in rns-cox3 is phylogenetically conserved, and allowed the tentative identification of conserved sequence blocks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2002


  • Acropora
  • Cnidaria
  • Control region
  • Group I intron
  • mtDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics
  • Biochemistry
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Genetics(clinical)
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)


Dive into the research topics of 'The mitochondrial genome of Acropora tenuis (Cnidaria; Scleractinia) contains a large group I intron and a candidate control region'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this