IBAM, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, CONICET, Facultad de Ciencias Agrarias, Almirante Brown 500, M5528AHB Chacras de Coria, Argentina; Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Cuyo, 5500 Mendoza, Argentina. Electronic address: [Email]
Short repeats (SR) play an important role in shaping seed plant mitochondrial genomes (mtDNAs). However, their origin, distribution, and relationships across the different plant lineages remain unresolved. We focus on the angiosperm family Solanaceae that shows great variation in repeat content and extend the study to a wide diversity of seed plants. We determined the complete nucleotide sequences of the organellar genomes of the medicinal plant Physochlaina orientalis (Solanaceae), member of the tribe Hyoscyameae. To understand the evolution of the P. orientalis mtDNA we made comparisons with those of five other Solanaceae. P. orientalis mtDNA presents the largest mitogenome (∼685 kb in size) among the Solanaceae and has an unprecedented 8-copy repeat family of ∼8.2 kb in length and a great number of SR arranged in tandem-like structures. We found that the SR in the Solanaceae share a common origin, but these only expanded in members of the tribe Hyoscyameae. We discuss a mechanism that could explain SR formation and expansion in P. orientalis and Hyoscyamus niger. Finally, the great increase in plant mitochondrial data allowed us to systematically extend our repeat analysis to a total of 136 seed plants to characterize and analyze for the first time families of SR among seed plant mtDNAs.