Although it is possible to recover the complete mitogenome directly from shotgun sequencing data, currently reported methods and pipelines are still relatively time consuming and costly. Using a sample of the Australian freshwater crayfish Engaeus lengana, we demonstrate that it is possible to achieve three-day turnaround time (four hours hands-on time) from tissue sample to NCBI-ready submission file through the integration of MiSeq sequencing platform, Nextera sample preparation protocol, MITObim assembly algorithm and MITOS annotation pipeline.
The increased rate at which complete mitogenomes are being sequenced and their increasing use for phylogenetic studies have resulted in a bioinformatic bottleneck in preparing and utilising such data for phylogenetic analysis. Hence, we present MitoPhAST, an automated tool that (1) identifies annotated protein-coding gene features and generates a standardised, concatenated and partitioned amino acid alignment directly from complete/partial GenBank/EMBL-format mitogenome flat files, (2) generates a maximum likelihood phylogenetic tree using optimised protein models and (3) reports various mitochondrial genes and sequence information in a table format. To demonstrate the capacity of MitoPhAST in handling a large dataset, we used 81 publicly available decapod mitogenomes, together with eight new complete mitogenomes of Australian freshwater crayfishes, including the first for the genus Gramastacus, to undertake an updated test of the monophyly of the major groups of the order Decapoda and their phylogenetic relationships. The recovered phylogenetic trees using both Bayesian and ML methods support the results of studies using fragments of mtDNA and nuclear markers and other smaller-scale studies using whole mitogenomes. In comparison to the fragment-based phylogenies, nodal support values are generally higher despite reduced taxon sampling suggesting there is value in utilising more fully mitogenomic data. Additionally, the simple table output from MitoPhAST provides an efficient summary and statistical overview of the mitogenomes under study at the gene level, allowing the identification of missing or duplicated genes and gene rearrangements. The finding of new mtDNA gene rearrangements in several genera of Australian freshwater crayfishes indicates that this group has undergone an unusually high rate of evolutionary change for this organelle compared to other major families of decapod crustaceans. As a result, freshwater crayfishes are likely to be a useful model for studies designed to understand the evolution of mtDNA rearrangements. We anticipate that our bioinformatics pipeline will substantially help mitogenome-based studies increase the speed, accuracy and efficiency of phylogenetic studies utilising mitogenome information. MitoPhAST is available for download at https://github.com/mht85/MitoPhAST.
The complete mitochondrial genome of the enigmatic freshwater crayfish Engaeus lyelli was sequenced using the MiSeq Personal Sequencer (Illumina, San Diego, CA). The mitogenome has 16,027 bp consisting of 13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal subunit genes, 23 transfer RNAs, and a non-coding AT-rich region. The base composition of E. lyelli is 29.01% for T, 27.13% for C, 31.43% for A, and 12.44% for G, with an AT bias of 60.44%. The species has the distinctive gene order characteristic of parastacid crayfish with the exception of some minor rearrangements involving the tRNA genes.
The mitogenome of the black yabby, Geocharax gracilis, was sequenced using the MiSeq Personal Sequencer. It has 15,924 base pairs consisting of 13 protein-coding genes, 2 ribosomal subunit genes, 23 transfer RNAs, and a non-coding AT-rich region. The base composition of G. gracilis mitogenome is 32.18% for T, 22.32% for C, 34.83% for A, and 10.68% for G, with an AT bias of 67.01%. The mitogenome gene order is typical for that of parastacid crayfish with the exception of some minor rearrangements involving tRNA genes.
To further understand the evolutionary history and mitogenomic features of Australia's highly distinctive freshwater crayfish fauna, we utilized a recently described rapid mitogenome sequencing pipeline to generate 24 new crayfish mitogenomes including a diversity of burrowing crayfish species and the first for Astacopsis gouldi, the world's largest freshwater invertebrate. Whole mitogenome-based phylogeny estimates using both Bayesian and Maximum Likelihood methods substantially strengthen existing hypotheses for systematic relationships among Australian freshwater crayfish with evidence of pervasive diversifying selection and accelerated mitochondrial substitution rate among the members of the clade representing strongly burrowing crayfish that may reflect selection pressures for increased energy requirement for adaptation to terrestrial environment and a burrowing lifestyle. Further, gene rearrangements are prevalent in the burrowing crayfish mitogenomes involving both tRNA and protein coding genes. In addition, duplicated control regions were observed in two closely related Engaeus species, together with evidence for concerted evolution. This study significantly adds to the understanding of Australian freshwater crayfish evolutionary relationships and suggests a link between mitogenome evolution and adaptation to terrestrial environments and a burrowing lifestyle in freshwater crayfish.