Platyhelminth mitochondrial DNA: evidence for early evolutionary origin of a tRNA(serAGN) that contains a dihydrouridine arm replacement loop, and of serine-specifying AGA and AGG codons

J Mol Evol. 1989 May;28(5):374-87. doi: 10.1007/BF02603072.


The nucleotide sequence of a segment of the mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) molecule of the liver fluke Fasciola hepatica (phylum Platyhelminthes, class Trematoda) has been determined, within which have been identified the genes for tRNA(ala), tRNA(asp), respiratory chain NADH dehydrogenase subunit I (ND1), tRNA(asn), tRNA(pro), tRNA(ile), tRNA(lys), ND3, tRNA(serAGN), tRNA(trp), and cytochrome c oxidase subunit I (COI). The 11 genes are arranged in the order given and are all transcribed from the same strand of the molecule. The overall order of the F. hepatica mitochondrial genes differs from what is found in other metazoan mtDNAs. All of the sequenced tRNA genes except the one for tRNA(serAGN) can be folded into a secondary structure with four arms resembling most other metazoan mitochondrial tRNAs, rather than the tRNAs that contain a T psi C arm replacement loop, found in nematode mtDNAs. The F. hepatica mitochondrial tRNA(serAGN) gene contains a dihydrouridine arm replacement loop, as is the case in all other metazoan mtDNAs examined to date. AGA and AGG are found in the F. hepatica mitochondrial protein genes and both codons appear to specify serine. These findings concerning F. hepatica mtDNA indicate that both a dihydrouridine arm replacement loop-containing tRNA(serAGN) gene and the use of AGA and AGG codons to specify serine must first have occurred very early in, or before, the evolution of metazoa.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Ascaris / genetics
  • Base Sequence
  • Biological Evolution*
  • Codon*
  • DNA, Mitochondrial / genetics*
  • Drosophila / genetics
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / genetics
  • Fasciola hepatica / genetics*
  • Genes
  • Genetic Code*
  • Mice / genetics
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • NADH Dehydrogenase / genetics
  • Nucleic Acid Conformation
  • RNA, Messenger*
  • RNA, Transfer / genetics*
  • RNA, Transfer, Ser / genetics
  • Sequence Homology, Nucleic Acid
  • Species Specificity


  • Codon
  • DNA, Mitochondrial
  • RNA, Messenger
  • RNA, Transfer, Ser
  • RNA, Transfer
  • NADH Dehydrogenase
  • Electron Transport Complex IV