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Open Access Open Badges Research article

Extensive structural variations between mitochondrial genomes of CMS and normal peppers (Capsicum annuum L.) revealed by complete nucleotide sequencing

Yeong Deuk Jo12, Yoomi Choi1, Dong-Hwan Kim3, Byung-Dong Kim1 and Byoung-Cheorl Kang1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Plant Science, Plant Genomics and Breeding Institute, and Institute of Green BioScience and Technology, Seoul National University, Seoul 151-921, South Korea

2 Advanced Radiation Technology Institute, Korea Atomic Energy Research Institute, Jeongeup 580-185, South Korea

3 Department of Molecular Biosciences, The University of Texas at Austin, Austin, TX 78712, USA

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BMC Genomics 2014, 15:561  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-15-561

Published: 4 July 2014



Cytoplasmic male sterility (CMS) is an inability to produce functional pollen that is caused by mutation of the mitochondrial genome. Comparative analyses of mitochondrial genomes of lines with and without CMS in several species have revealed structural differences between genomes, including extensive rearrangements caused by recombination. However, the mitochondrial genome structure and the DNA rearrangements that may be related to CMS have not been characterized in Capsicum spp.


We obtained the complete mitochondrial genome sequences of the pepper CMS line FS4401 (507,452 bp) and the fertile line Jeju (511,530 bp). Comparative analysis between mitochondrial genomes of peppers and tobacco that are included in Solanaceae revealed extensive DNA rearrangements and poor conservation in non-coding DNA. In comparison between pepper lines, FS4401 and Jeju mitochondrial DNAs contained the same complement of protein coding genes except for one additional copy of an atp6 gene (ψatp6-2) in FS4401. In terms of genome structure, we found eighteen syntenic blocks in the two mitochondrial genomes, which have been rearranged in each genome. By contrast, sequences between syntenic blocks, which were specific to each line, accounted for 30,380 and 17,847 bp in FS4401 and Jeju, respectively. The previously-reported CMS candidate genes, orf507 and ψatp6-2, were located on the edges of the largest sequence segments that were specific to FS4401. In this region, large number of small sequence segments which were absent or found on different locations in Jeju mitochondrial genome were combined together. The incorporation of repeats and overlapping of connected sequence segments by a few nucleotides implied that extensive rearrangements by homologous recombination might be involved in evolution of this region. Further analysis using mtDNA pairs from other plant species revealed common features of DNA regions around CMS-associated genes.


Although large portion of sequence context was shared by mitochondrial genomes of CMS and male-fertile pepper lines, extensive genome rearrangements were detected. CMS candidate genes located on the edges of highly-rearranged CMS-specific DNA regions and near to repeat sequences. These characteristics were detected among CMS-associated genes in other species, implying a common mechanism might be involved in the evolution of CMS-associated genes.