3 years ago

Centromeric DNA characterization in the model grass Brachypodium distachyon provides insights on the evolution of the genus

Kai Wang, Jinlei Han, Sheng Zuo, Yinjia Li, Zhanjie Li, Robert Hasterok, Zhiliang Zhang, Zhaoqing Chu
Brachypodium distachyon is a well-established model monocot plant and its small and compact genome has been used as an accurate reference for the much larger and often polyploid genomes of cereals such as wheat, oats and barley. Centromeres are indispensable functional units of chromosomes and they play a core role in genome polyploidization events during evolution. Since the Brachypodium genus contains about 20 species that differ significantly in terms of their basic chromosome numbers, genome size, ploidy levels and life strategies, studying their centromeres may provide important insight into the structure and evolution of the genome in this interesting and important genus. In this study, we isolated the centromeric DNA of the B. distachyon reference line Bd21 and characterized its composition via the chromatin immunoprecipitation of the nucleosomes that contain the centromere-specific histone CENH3. We revealed that the centromeres of Bd21 have the features of typical multicellular eukaryotic centromeres. Strikingly, these centromeres contain relatively few centromeric satellite DNAs; in particular, the centromere of chromosome 5 (Bd5) consists of only ~40 kb. Moreover, the centromeric retrotransposons in B. distachyon (CRBds) are evolutionarily young. These transposable elements are located both within and adjacent to the CENH3 binding domains and have similar compositions. Moreover, based on the presence of CRBds in the centromeres, the species in this study can be grouped into two distinct lineages. This may provide new evidence regarding the phylogenetic relationships within the Brachypodium genus. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1111/tpj.13832

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