Mitogenomic Analysis and Phylogenetic Implications for the Deltocephaline Tribe Chiasmini (Hemiptera: Cicadellidae: Deltocephalinae)

Insects. 2024 Apr 8;15(4):253. doi: 10.3390/insects15040253.


The grassland leafhopper tribe Chiasmini (Cicadellidae: Deltocephalinae) presently comprises 324 described species worldwide, with the highest species diversity occurring in the Nearctic region but a greater diversity of genera occurring in the Old World. In China, this tribe comprises 39 described species in 11 genera, but the fauna remains understudied. The complete mitogenomes of three species of this tribe have been sequenced previously. In order to better understand the phylogenetic position of Chiasmini within the subfamily Deltocephalinae and to investigate relationships among Chiasmini genera and species, we sequenced and analyzed the complete mitogenomes of 13 species belonging to seven genera from China. Comparison of the newly sequenced mitogenomes reveals a closed circular double-stranded structure containing 37 genes with a total length of 14,805 to 16,269 bp and a variable number of non-coding A + T-rich regions. The gene size, gene order, gene arrangement, base composition, codon usage, and secondary structure of tRNAs of the newly sequenced mitogenomes of these 13 species are highly conserved in Chiasmini. The ATN codon is commonly used as the start codon in protein-coding genes (PCGs), except for ND5 in Doratura sp. and ATP6 in Nephotettix nigropictus, which use the rare GTG start codon. Most protein-coding genes have TAA or TAG as the stop codon, but some genes have an incomplete T stop codon. Except for the tRNA for serine (trnS1(AGN)), the secondary structure of the other 21 tRNAs is a typical cloverleaf structure. In addition to the primary type of G-U mismatch, five other types of tRNA mismatches were observed: A-A, A-C, A-G, U-C, and U-U. Chiasmini mitochondrial genomes exhibit gene overlaps with three relatively stable regions: the overlapping sequence between trnW and trnC is AAGTCTTA, the overlapping sequence between ATP8 and ATP6 is generally ATGATTA, and the overlapping sequence between ND4 and ND4L is generally TTATCAT. The largest non-coding region is the control region, which exhibits significant length and compositional variation among species. Some Chiasmini have tandem repeat structures within their control regions. Unlike some other deltocephaline leafhoppers, the sequenced Chiasmini lack mitochondrial gene rearrangements. Phylogenetic analyses of different combinations of protein-coding and ribosomal genes using maximum likelihood and Bayesian methods under different models, using either amino acid or nucleotide sequences, are generally consistent and also agree with results of prior analyses of nuclear and partial mitochondrial gene sequence data, indicating that complete mitochondrial genomes are phylogenetically informative at different levels of divergence within Chiasmini and among leafhoppers in general. Apart from Athysanini and Opsiini, most of the deltocephaline tribes are recovered as monophyletic. The results of ML and BI analyses show that Chiasmini is a monophyletic group with seven monophyletic genera arranged as follows: ((Zahniserius + (Gurawa + (Doratura + Aconurella))) + (Leofa + (Exitianus + Nephotettix))).

Keywords: Auchenorrhyncha; Cicadellidae; Hemiptera; molecular biology; phylogeny.