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1 April 2004 EVOLUTION OF HIERARCHICAL CYTOPLASMIC INHERITANCE IN THE PLASMODIAL SLIME MOLD PHYSARUM POLYCEPHALUM
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Abstract

A striking linear dominance relationship for uniparental mitochondrial transmission is known between many mating types of plasmodial slime mold Physarum polycephalum. We herein examine how such hierarchical cytoplasmic inheritance evolves in isogamous organisms with many self-incompatible mating types. We assume that a nuclear locus determines the mating type of gametes and that another nuclear locus controls the digestion of mitochondria DNAs (mtDNAs) of the recipient gamete after fusion. We then examine the coupled genetic dynamics for the evolution of self-incompatible mating types and biased mitochondrial transmission between them. In Physarum, a multiallelic nuclear locus matA controls both the mating type of the gametes and the selective elimination of the mtDNA in the zygotes. We theoretically examine two potential mechanisms that might be responsible for the preferential digestion of mitochondria in the zygote. In the first model, the preferential digestion of mitochondria is assumed to be the outcome of differential expression levels of a suppressor gene carried by each gamete (suppression-power model). In the second model (site-specific nuclease model), the digestion of mtDNAs is assumed to be due to their cleavage by a site-specific nuclease that cuts the mtDNA at unmethylated recognition sites. Also assumed is that the mtDNAs are methylated at the same recognition site prior to the fusion, thereby being protected against the nuclease of the same gamete, and that the suppressor alleles convey information for the recognition sequences of nuclease and methylase. In both models, we found that a linear dominance hierarchy evolves as a consequence of the buildup of a strong linkage disequilibrium between the mating-type locus and the suppressor locus, though it fails to evolve if the recombination rate between the two loci is larger than a threshold. This threshold recombination rate depends on the number of mating types and the degree of fitness reduction in the heteroplasmic zygotes. If the recombination rate is above the threshold, suppressor alleles are equally distributed in each mating type at evolutionary equilibrium. Based on the theoretical results of the site-specific nuclease model, we propose that a nested subsequence structure in the recognition sequence should underlie the linear dominance hierarchy of mitochondrial transmission.

Akiko Iwanaga and Akira Sasaki "EVOLUTION OF HIERARCHICAL CYTOPLASMIC INHERITANCE IN THE PLASMODIAL SLIME MOLD PHYSARUM POLYCEPHALUM," Evolution 58(4), 710-722, (1 April 2004). https://doi.org/10.1554/03-291
Received: 16 May 2003; Accepted: 24 November 2003; Published: 1 April 2004
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