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Synopsis Mitochondrial function is critical for energy homeostasis and should shape how genetic variation in metabolism is transmitted through levels of biological organization to generate stability in organismal performance. Mitochondrial function is encoded by genes in two distinct and separately inherited genomes—the mitochondrial genome and the nuclear genome—and selection is expected to maintain functional mito-nuclear interactions. The documented high levels of polymorphism in genes involved in these mito-nuclear interactions and wide variation for mitochondrial function demands an explanation for how and why variability in such a fundamental trait is maintained. Potamopyrgus antipodarum is a New Zealand freshwater snail with coexisting sexual and asexual individuals and, accordingly, contrasting systems of separate vs. co-inheritance of nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. As such, this snail provides a powerful means to dissect the evolutionary and functional consequences of mito-nuclear variation. The lakes inhabited by P. antipodarum span wide environmental gradients, with substantial across-lake genetic structure and mito-nuclear discordance. This situation allows us to use comparisons across reproductive modes and lakes to partition variation in cellular respiration across genetic and environmental axes. Here, we integrated cellular, physiological, and behavioral approaches to quantify variation in mitochondrial function across a diverse set of wild P. antipodarum lineages. We found extensive across-lake variation in organismal oxygen consumption and behavioral response to heat stress and differences across sexes in mitochondrial membrane potential but few global effects of reproductive mode. Taken together, our data set the stage for applying this important model system for sexual reproduction and polyploidy to dissecting the complex relationships between mito-nuclear variation, performance, plasticity, and fitness in natural populations.more » « less
Oxidative phosphorylation, the primary source of cellular energy in eukaryotes, requires gene products encoded in both the nuclear and mitochondrial genomes. As a result, functional integration between the genomes is essential for efficient adenosine triphosphate (ATP) generation. Although within populations this integration is presumably maintained by coevolution, the importance of mitonuclear coevolution in key biological processes such as speciation and mitochondrial disease has been questioned. In this study, we crossed populations of the intertidal copepod
Tigriopus californicusto disrupt putatively coevolved mitonuclear genotypes in reciprocal F2hybrids. We utilized interindividual variation in developmental rate among these hybrids as a proxy for fitness to assess the strength of selection imposed on the nuclear genome by alternate mitochondrial genotypes. Developmental rate varied among hybrid individuals, and in vitro ATP synthesis rates of mitochondria isolated from high-fitness hybrids were approximately two-fold greater than those of mitochondria isolated from low-fitness individuals. We then used Pool-seq to compare nuclear allele frequencies for high- or low-fitness hybrids. Significant biases for maternal alleles were detected on 5 (of 12) chromosomes in high-fitness individuals of both reciprocal crosses, whereas maternal biases were largely absent in low-fitness individuals. Therefore, the most fit hybrids were those with nuclear alleles that matched their mitochondrial genotype on these chromosomes, suggesting that mitonuclear effects underlie individual-level variation in developmental rate and that intergenomic compatibility is critical for high fitness. We conclude that mitonuclear interactions can have profound impacts on both physiological performance and the evolutionary trajectory of the nuclear genome.
As hybrid zones exhibit selective patterns of gene flow between otherwise distinct lineages, they can be especially valuable for informing processes of microevolution and speciation. The bumble bee,
Bombus melanopygus, displays two distinct color forms generated by Müllerian mimicry: a northern “Rocky Mountain'’ color form with ferruginous mid‐abdominal segments ( B. m. melanopygus) and a southern “Pacific'’ form with black mid‐abdominal segments ( B. m. edwardsii). These morphs meet in a mimetic transition zone in northern California and southern Oregon that is more narrow and transitions further west than comimetic bumble bee species. To understand the historical formation of this mimicry zone, we assessed color distribution data for B. melanopygusfrom the last 100 years. We then examined gene flow among the color forms in the transition zone by comparing sequences from mitochondrial COI barcode sequences, color‐controlling loci, and the rest of the nuclear genome. These data support two geographically distinct mitochondrial haplogroups aligned to the ancestrally ferruginous and black forms that meet within the color transition zone. This clustering is also supported by the nuclear genome, which, while showing strong admixture across individuals, distinguishes individuals most by their mitochondrial haplotype, followed by geography. These data suggest the two lineages most likely were historically isolated, acquired fixed color differences, and then came into secondary contact with ongoing gene flow. The transition zone, however, exhibits asymmetries: mitochondrial haplotypes transition further south than color pattern, and both transition over shorter distances in the south. This system thus demonstrates alternative patterns of gene flow that occur in contact zones, presenting another example of mito‐nuclear discordance. Discordant gene flow is inferred to most likely be driven by a combination of mimetic selection, dominance effects, and assortative mating.
Variation in the metabolic costs associated with organismal maintenance may play a key role in determining fitness, and thus these differences among individuals are likely to be subject to natural selection. Although the evolvability of maintenance metabolism depends on its underlying genetic architecture, relatively little is known about the nature of genetic variation that underlies this trait. To address this, we measured variation in routine metabolic rate (
ṀO2 routine), an index of maintenance metabolism, within and among three populations of Atlantic killifish, Fundulus heteroclitus, including a population from a region of genetic admixture between two subspecies. Polygenic association tests among individuals from the admixed population identified 54 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) that were associated with ṀO2 routine, and these SNPs accounted for 43% of interindividual variation in this trait. However, genetic associations with ṀO2 routineinvolved different SNPs if females and males were analysed separately, and there was a sex‐dependent effect of mitochondrial genotype on variation in routine metabolism. These results imply that there are sex‐specific genetic mechanisms, and potential mitonuclear interactions, that underlie variation in ṀO2 routine. Additionally, there was evidence for epistatic interactions between 17% of the possible pairs of trait‐associated SNPs, suggesting that epistatic effects on ṀO2 routineare common. These data demonstrate not only that phenotypic variation in this ecologically important trait has a polygenic basis with considerable epistasis among loci, but also that these underlying genetic mechanisms, and particularly the role of mitochondrial genotype, may be sex‐specific.
Wilson, Daniel ; Parkhill, Julian (Ed.)ABSTRACT A goal of modern biology is to develop the genotype-phenotype (G→P) map, a predictive understanding of how genomic information generates trait variation that forms the basis of both natural and managed communities. As microbiome research advances, however, it has become clear that many of these traits are symbiotic extended phenotypes , being governed by genetic variation encoded not only by the host’s own genome, but also by the genomes of myriad cryptic symbionts. Building a reliable G→P map therefore requires accounting for the multitude of interacting genes and even genomes involved in symbiosis. Here, we use naturally occurring genetic variation in 191 strains of the model microbial symbiont Sinorhizobium meliloti paired with two genotypes of the host Medicago truncatula in four genome-wide association studies (GWAS) to determine the genomic architecture of a key symbiotic extended phenotype— partner quality , or the fitness benefit conferred to a host by a particular symbiont genotype, within and across environmental contexts and host genotypes. We define three novel categories of loci in rhizobium genomes that must be accounted for if we want to build a reliable G→P map of partner quality; namely, (i) loci whose identities depend on the environment, (ii) those that depend on the host genotype with which rhizobia interact, and (iii) universal loci that are likely important in all or most environments. IMPORTANCE Given the rapid rise of research on how microbiomes can be harnessed to improve host health, understanding the contribution of microbial genetic variation to host phenotypic variation is pressing, and will better enable us to predict the evolution of (and select more precisely for) symbiotic extended phenotypes that impact host health. We uncover extensive context-dependency in both the identity and functions of symbiont loci that control host growth, which makes predicting the genes and pathways important for determining symbiotic outcomes under different conditions more challenging. Despite this context-dependency, we also resolve a core set of universal loci that are likely important in all or most environments, and thus, serve as excellent targets both for genetic engineering and future coevolutionary studies of symbiosis.more » « less