ABSTRACT: Difficulties often occur in separating closely related dinoflagellate species. In this study, the potential utility of mitochondrial cytochrome b (cob) gene sequence and mRNA editing characteristics was assessed using Prorocentrum Ehrenberg as a model. The cob sequences and the patterns of their mRNA editing were analyzed for several Prorocentrum taxa. Results revealed little difference in cob sequence and mRNA editing characteristics between geographic populations of P. minimum (Pavillard) Schiller, while a notable difference was detected between different species (P. minimum and P. micans Ehrenberg). Furthermore, these P. minimum populations consistently formed a tight cluster on phylogenetic trees inferred from cob sequences as well as mRNA editing characteristics, whereas different Prorocentrum species were well separated, with a genetic distance of 0.0042±0.0024 for the former and 0.0141±0.0012 for the latter (P<0.01; two-tailed t-test). When the analysis was applied to the case of P. donghaiense Lu et Goebel and CCMP1517 strain of P. dentatum Stein, no differences were detected between these two taxa with respect to cob mRNA editing pattern and only small differences equivalent to those between P. minimum populations were detected in terms of cob sequence. On the cob sequence- and editing-based phylogenetic trees, P. donghaiense and P. dentatum CCMP1517 consistently clustered together at a position sister to P. minimum. The results suggest that cob, combined with its mRNA editing, can potentially be a useful delineator of Prorocentrum species, and that P. donghaiense and P. dentatum CCMP1517 are most likely the same species and both are closely related to P. minimum.
Journal of Phycology 05/2006; 42(3):646 - 654. · 2.07 Impact Factor