Mitochondria in parasitic plants

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  • Gitte Petersen, Stockholm University
  • ,
  • Benjamin Anderson, Stockholm University
  • ,
  • Hans Peter Braun, Leibniz University Hannover
  • ,
  • Etienne H. Meyer, Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg
  • ,
  • Ian Max Møller

Plant mitochondrial genomes are renowned for their structural complexity, extreme variation in size and mutation rates, and ability to incorporate foreign DNA. Parasitic flowering plants are no exception, and the close association between parasite and host may even enhance the likelihood of horizontal gene transfer (HGT) between them. Recent studies on mistletoes (Viscum) have revealed that these parasites have lost an exceptional number of mitochondrial genes, including all complex I genes of the respiratory chain. At the same time, an altered respiratory pathway has been demonstrated. Here we review the current understanding of mitochondrial evolution in parasitic plants with a special emphasis on HGT to and from parasite mitochondrial genomes, as well as the uniquely altered mitochondria in Viscum and related plants.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)173-182
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - May 2020

    Research areas

  • Horizontal gene transfer, Mitochondrial complex I, Mitochondrial genome, OXPHOS, Parasitic plants, Plant mitochondria, Respiratory chain

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