The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the green microalga Lobosphaera (Parietochloris) incisa reveals a new type of palindromic repetitive repeat

Nicolas J. Tourasse, Nastassia Shtaida, Inna Khozin-Goldberg, Sammy Boussiba, Olivier Vallon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Background: Lobosphaera incisa, formerly known as Myrmecia incisa and then Parietochloris incisa, is an oleaginous unicellular green alga belonging to the class Trebouxiophyceae (Chlorophyta). It is the richest known plant source of arachidonic acid, an μ-6 poly-unsaturated fatty acid valued by the pharmaceutical and baby-food industries. It is therefore an organism of high biotechnological interest, and we recently reported the sequence of its chloroplast genome. Results: We now report the complete sequence of the mitochondrial genome of L. incisa from high-throughput Illumina short-read sequencing. The circular chromosome of 69,997 bp is predicted to encode a total of 64 genes, some harboring specific self-splicing group I and group II introns. Overall, the gene content is highly similar to that of the mitochondrial genomes of other Trebouxiophyceae, with 34 protein-coding, 3 rRNA, and 27 tRNA genes. Genes are distributed in two clusters located on different DNA strands, a bipartite arrangement that suggests expression from two divergent promoters yielding polycistronic primary transcripts. The L. incisa mitochondrial genome contains families of intergenic dispersed DNA repeat sequences that are not shared with other known mitochondrial genomes of Trebouxiophyceae. The most peculiar feature of the genome is a repetitive palindromic repeat, the LIMP (L. Incisa Mitochondrial Palindrome), found 19 times in the genome. It is formed by repetitions of an AACCA pentanucleotide, followed by an invariant 7-nt loop and a complementary repeat of the TGGTT motif. Analysis of the genome sequencing reads indicates that the LIMP can be a substrate for large-scale genomic rearrangements. We speculate that LIMPs can act as origins of replication. Deep sequencing of the L. incisa transcriptome also suggests that the LIMPs with long stems are sites of transcript processing. The genome also contains five copies of a related palindromic repeat, the HyLIMP, with a 10-nt motif related to that of the LIMP. Conclusions: The mitochondrial genome of L. incisa encodes a unique type of repetitive palindromic repeat sequence, the LIMP, which can mediate genome rearrangements and play a role in mitochondrial gene expression. Experimental studies are needed to confirm and further characterize the functional role(s) of the LIMP.

Original languageEnglish
Article number580
JournalBMC Genomics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 5 Aug 2015


  • Chlorophyta
  • DNA cruciform
  • Genome rearrangement
  • HyLIMP
  • LIMP
  • Myrmecia
  • Palindromic repeat
  • Replication origin
  • Transcript processing
  • Trebouxiophyceae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Genetics


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