Recently, we found dramaticmitochondrial DNA divergence of Israeli Chamaeleo chamaeleon populations into two geographically distinct groups. We aimed to examine whether the same pattern of divergence could be found in nuclear genes. However, no genomic resource is available for any chameleon species. Here we present the first chameleon transcriptome, obtained using deep sequencing (SOLiD). Our analysis identified 164,000 sequence contigs ofwhich 19,000 yielded unique BlastX hits. To test the efficacy of our sequencing effort, we examined whether the chameleon and other available reptilian transcriptomes harbored complete sets of genes comprising known biochemical pathways, focusing on the nDNA-encoded oxidative phosphorylation (OXPHOS) genes as a model.Asa reference for thescreen,weused thehuman86(including isoforms) known structuralnDNA-encodedOXPHOSsubunits. Analysis of 34 publicly available vertebrate transcriptomes revealed orthologs for most human OXPHOS genes. However, OXPHOS subunit COX8 (Cytochrome C oxidase subunit 8), including all its known isoforms, was consistently absent in transcriptomes of iguanian lizards, implying loss of this subunit during the radiation of this suborder. The lack of COX8 in the suborder Iguania is intriguing, since it is important for cellular respiration and ATP production. Our sequencing effort added a new resource for comparative genomic studies, and shed new light on the evolutionary dynamics of the OXPHOS system.
- Oxidative phosphorylation