Codon adaptation is codon usage bias that results from selective pressure to increase the translation efficiency of a gene. Codon adaptation has been studied across a wide range of genomes and some early analyses of plastids have shown evidence for codon adaptation in a limited set of highly expressed plastid genes. Here we study codon usage bias across all fully sequenced plastid genomes which includes representatives of the Rhodophyta, Alveolata, Cryptophyta, Euglenozoa, Glaucocystophyceae, Rhizaria, Stramenopiles and numerous lineages within the Viridiplantae, including Chlorophyta and Embryophyta. We show evidence that codon adaptation occurs in all genomes except for two, Theileria parva and Heicosporidium sp., both of which have highly reduced gene contents and no photosynthesis genes. We also show evidence that selection for codon adaptation increases the representation of the same set of codons, which we refer to as the adaptive codons, across this wide range of taxa, which is probably due to common features descended from the initial endosymbiont. We use various measures to estimate the relative strength of selection in the different lineages and show that it appears to be fairly strong in certain Stramenopiles and Chlorophyta lineages but relatively weak in many members of the Rhodophyta, Euglenozoa and Embryophyta. Given these results we propose that codon adaptation in plastids is widespread and displays the same general features as adaptation in eubacterial genomes.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)