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Genetics, chromatin diminution, and sex chromosome evolution in the parasitic nematode genus strongyloides


Nemetschke, L; Eberhardt, A; Hertzberg, H; Streit, A (2010). Genetics, chromatin diminution, and sex chromosome evolution in the parasitic nematode genus strongyloides. Current Biology, 20(19):1687-1696.

Abstract

BACKGROUND: When chromatin diminution occurs during a cell division a portion of the chromatin is eliminated, resulting in daughter cells with a smaller amount of genetic material. In the parasitic roundworms Ascaris and Parascaris, chromatin diminution creates a genetic difference between the soma and the germline. However, the function of chromatin diminution remains a mystery, because the vast majority of the eliminated DNA is noncoding. Within the parasitic roundworm genus Strongyloides, S. stercoralis (in man) and S. ratti (in rat) employ XX/XO sex determination, but the situation in S. papillosus (in sheep) is different but controversial. RESULTS: We demonstrate genetically that S. papillosus employs sex-specific chromatin diminution to eliminate an internal portion of one of the two homologs of one chromosome pair in males. Contrary to ascarids, the eliminated DNA in S. papillosus contains a large number of genes. We demonstrate that the region undergoing diminution is homologous to the X chromosome of the closely related S. ratti. The flanking regions, which are not diminished, are homologous to the S. ratti autosome number I. Furthermore, we found that the diminished chromosome is not incorporated into sperm, resulting in a male-specific transmission ratio distortion. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that on the evolutionary path to S. papillosus, the X chromosome fused with an autosome. Chromatin diminution serves to functionally restore an XX/XO sex-determining system. A consequence of the fusion and the process that copes with it is a transmission ratio distortion in males for certain loci.

BACKGROUND: When chromatin diminution occurs during a cell division a portion of the chromatin is eliminated, resulting in daughter cells with a smaller amount of genetic material. In the parasitic roundworms Ascaris and Parascaris, chromatin diminution creates a genetic difference between the soma and the germline. However, the function of chromatin diminution remains a mystery, because the vast majority of the eliminated DNA is noncoding. Within the parasitic roundworm genus Strongyloides, S. stercoralis (in man) and S. ratti (in rat) employ XX/XO sex determination, but the situation in S. papillosus (in sheep) is different but controversial. RESULTS: We demonstrate genetically that S. papillosus employs sex-specific chromatin diminution to eliminate an internal portion of one of the two homologs of one chromosome pair in males. Contrary to ascarids, the eliminated DNA in S. papillosus contains a large number of genes. We demonstrate that the region undergoing diminution is homologous to the X chromosome of the closely related S. ratti. The flanking regions, which are not diminished, are homologous to the S. ratti autosome number I. Furthermore, we found that the diminished chromosome is not incorporated into sperm, resulting in a male-specific transmission ratio distortion. CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicate that on the evolutionary path to S. papillosus, the X chromosome fused with an autosome. Chromatin diminution serves to functionally restore an XX/XO sex-determining system. A consequence of the fusion and the process that copes with it is a transmission ratio distortion in males for certain loci.

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18 citations in Web of Science®
23 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:05 Vetsuisse Faculty > Institute of Parasitology
04 Faculty of Medicine > Institute of Parasitology
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
610 Medicine & health
600 Technology
Language:English
Date:October 2010
Deposited On:02 Dec 2010 15:49
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 14:16
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0960-9822
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:10.1016/j.cub.2010.08.014
PubMed ID:20832309
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-36229

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