Mutation and Selection on the Wobble Nucleotide in tRNA Anticodons in Marine Bivalve Mitochondrial Genomes
Animal mitochondrial genomes typically encode one tRNA for each synonymous codon family, so that each tRNA anticodon essentially has to wobble to recognize two or four synonymous codons. Several factors have been hypothesized to determine the nucleotide at the wobble site of a tRNA anticodon in mitochondrial genomes, such as the codon-anticodon adaptation hypothesis, the wobble versatility hypothesis, the translation initiation and elongation conflict hypothesis, and the wobble cost hypothesis.
In this study, we analyzed codon usage and tRNA anticodon wobble sites of 29 marine bivalve mitochondrial genomes to evaluate features of the wobble nucleotides in tRNA anticodons. The strand-specific mutation bias favors G and T on the H strand in all the 29 marine bivalve mitochondrial genomes. A bias favoring G and T is also visible in the third codon positions of protein-coding genes and the wobble sites of anticodons, rejecting that codon usage bias drives the wobble sites of tRNA anticodons or tRNA anticodon bias drives the evolution of codon usage. Almost all codon families (98.9%) from marine bivalve mitogenomes support the wobble versatility hypothesis. There are a few interesting exceptions involving tRNATrp with an anticodon CCA fixed in Pectinoida species, tRNASer with a GCU anticodon fixed in Mytiloida mitogenomes, and the uniform anticodon CAU of tRNAMet translating the AUR codon family.
These results demonstrate that most of the nucleotides at the wobble sites of tRNA anticodons in marine bivalve mitogenomes are determined by wobble versatility. Other factors such as the translation initiation and elongation conflict, and the cost of wobble translation may contribute to the determination of the wobble nucleotide in tRNA anticodons. The finding presented here provides valuable insights into the previous hypotheses of the wobble nucleotide in tRNA anticodons by adding some new evidence.
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