Lichen fungi live in a symbiotic association with unicellular phototrophs and most have no known aposymbiotic stage. A recent study in Molecular Ecology postulated that some of them have lost mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation and rely on their algal partners for ATP. This claim originated from an apparent lack of ATP9, a gene encoding one subunit of ATP synthase, from a few mitochondrial genomes. Here, we show that while these fungi indeed have lost the mitochondrial ATP9, each retain a nuclear copy of this gene. Our analysis reaffirms that lichen fungi produce their own ATP.
- ATP synthase
- gene loss
- mitochondrial genome
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics