Positive selection and precipitation effects on the mitochondrial NADH dehydrogenase subunit 6 gene in brown hares (Lepus europaeus) under a phylogeographic perspective

Autoři: Milomir Stefanović aff001;  Mihajla Djan aff001;  Nevena Veličković aff001;  Dejan Beuković aff002;  Vukan Lavadinović aff003;  Chavdar Dinev Zhelev aff004;  Yasin Demirbaş aff005;  Ladislav Paule aff006;  Csongor István Gedeon aff007;  Zissis Mamuris aff008;  Annika Posautz aff009;  Christoph Beiglböck aff009;  Anna Kübber-Heiss aff009;  Franz Suchentrunk aff009
Působiště autorů: Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of Sciences, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia aff001;  Faculty of Agriculture, University of Novi Sad, Novi Sad, Serbia aff002;  Faculty of Forestry, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia aff003;  Southwestern State Forest Enterprise Blagoevgrad, Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria aff004;  Faculty of Science and Arts, University of Kırıkkale, Kırıkkale, Turkey aff005;  Faculty of Forestry, Technical University, Zvolen, Slovakia aff006;  Institute for Soil Sciences and Agricultural Chemistry, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest, Hungary aff007;  Department of Biochemistry and Biotechnology, University of Thessaly, Larrisa, Greece aff008;  Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna, Vienna, Austria aff009
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 14(11)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0224902


Previous studies in hares and jackrabbits have indicated that positive selection has shaped the genetic diversity of mitochondrial genes involved in oxidative phosphorylation, which may affect cellular energy production and cause regional adaptation to different environmental (climatic) pressures. In the present study, we sequenced the NADH dehydrogenase subunit 6 (MT-ND6) gene of 267 brown hares (L. europaeus) from Europe and Asia Minor and tested for positive selection and adaptations acting on amino acid sequences (protein variants). Molecular diversity indices and spatial clustering were assessed by DnaSP, Network, and Geneland, while the presence of selection signals was tested by codeml in PAML, and by using the Datamonkey Adaptive Evolution web server. The SPSS software was used to run multinomial regression models to test for possible effects of climate parameters on the currently obtained protein variants. Fifty-eight haplotypes were revealed with a haplotype diversity of 0.817, coding for 17 different protein variants. The MT-ND6 phylogeographic pattern as determined by the nucleotide sequences followed the earlier found model based on the neutrally evolving D-loop sequences, and reflected the earlier found phylogeographic Late Pleistocene scenario. Based on several selection tests, only one codon position consistently proved to be under positive selection. It did occur exclusively in the evolutionarily younger hares from Europe and it gave rise to several protein variants from the southeastern and south-central Balkans. The occurrence of several of those variants was significantly favored under certain precipitation conditions, as proved by our multinomial regression models. Possibly, the great altitudinal variation in the Balkans may have lead to bigger changes in precipitation across that region and this may have imposed an evolutionarily novel selective pressure on the protein variants and could have led to regional adaptation.

Klíčová slova:

Europe – Evolutionary adaptation – Evolutionary genetics – Haplotypes – Hares – Mitochondrial DNA – Molecular evolution – Phylogeography


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