Open Access Research article

Assembly and analysis of a male sterile rubber tree mitochondrial genome reveals DNA rearrangement events and a novel transcript

Jeremy R Shearman1, Duangjai Sangsrakru1, Panthita Ruang-areerate1, Chutima Sonthirod1, Pichahpuk Uthaipaisanwong1, Thippawan Yoocha1, Supannee Poopear1, Kanikar Theerawattanasuk2, Somvong Tragoonrung1 and Sithichoke Tangphatsornruang1*

Author Affiliations

1 National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, 113 Thailand Science Park, Paholyothin Road, Khlong Nueng, Khlong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand

2 Rubber Research Institute of Thailand (RRIT), Department of Agriculture, Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, 50 Phaholyothin Road, Chatuchack, Bangkok 10900, Thailand

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BMC Plant Biology 2014, 14:45  doi:10.1186/1471-2229-14-45

Published: 10 February 2014



The rubber tree, Hevea brasiliensis, is an important plant species that is commercially grown to produce latex rubber in many countries. The rubber tree variety BPM 24 exhibits cytoplasmic male sterility, inherited from the variety GT 1.


We constructed the rubber tree mitochondrial genome of a cytoplasmic male sterile variety, BPM 24, using 454 sequencing, including 8 kb paired-end libraries, plus Illumina paired-end sequencing. We annotated this mitochondrial genome with the aid of Illumina RNA-seq data and performed comparative analysis. We then compared the sequence of BPM 24 to the contigs of the published rubber tree, variety RRIM 600, and identified a rearrangement that is unique to BPM 24 resulting in a novel transcript containing a portion of atp9.


The novel transcript is consistent with changes that cause cytoplasmic male sterility through a slight reduction to ATP production efficiency. The exhaustive nature of the search rules out alternative causes and supports previous findings of novel transcripts causing cytoplasmic male sterility.

Rubber tree; Hevea brasiliensis; Mitochondria; Cytoplasmic male sterility; Genome sequencing