Comparative Sequence Analysis of the Non-Protein-Coding Mitochondrial DNA of Inbred Rat Strains
The proper function of mammalian mitochondria necessitates a coordinated expression of both nuclear and mitochondrial genes, most likely due to the co-evolution of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. The non-protein coding regions of mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) including the D-loop, tRNA and rRNA genes form a major component of this regulated expression unit. Here we present comparative analyses of the non-protein-coding regions from 27 Rattus norvegicus mtDNA sequences. There were two variable positions in 12S rRNA, 20 in 16S rRNA, eight within the tRNA genes and 13 in the D-loop. Only one of the three neutrality tests used demonstrated statistically significant evidence for selection in 16S rRNA and tRNA-Cys. Based on our analyses of conserved sequences, we propose that some of the variable nucleotide positions identified in 16S rRNA and tRNA-Cys, and the D-loop might be important for mitochondrial function and its regulation.
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