The mating-type chromosome in the filamentous ascomycete Neurospora tetrasperma represents a model for early evolution of sex chromosomes.
ABSTRACT: We combined gene divergence data, classical genetics, and phylogenetics to study the evolution of the mating-type chromosome in the filamentous ascomycete Neurospora tetrasperma. In this species, a large non-recombining region of the mating-type chromosome is associated with a unique fungal life cycle where self-fertility is enforced by maintenance of a constant state of heterokaryosis. Sequence divergence between alleles of 35 genes from the two single mating-type component strains (i.e. the homokaryotic mat A or mat a-strains), derived from one N. tetrasperma heterokaryon (mat A+mat a), was analyzed. By this approach we were able to identify the boundaries and size of the non-recombining region, and reveal insight into the history of recombination cessation. The non-recombining region covers almost 7 Mbp, over 75% of the chromosome, and we hypothesize that the evolution of the mating-type chromosome in this lineage involved two successive events. The first event was contemporaneous with the split of N. tetrasperma from a common ancestor with its outcrossing relative N. crassa and suppressed recombination over at least 6.6 Mbp, and the second was confined to a smaller region in which recombination ceased more recently. In spite of the early origin of the first "evolutionary stratum", genealogies of five genes from strains belonging to an additional N. tetrasperma lineage indicate independent initiations of suppressed recombination in different phylogenetic lineages. This study highlights the shared features between the sex chromosomes found in the animal and plant kingdoms and the fungal mating-type chromosome, despite fungi having no separate sexes. As is often found in sex chromosomes of plants and animals, recombination suppression of the mating-type chromosome of N. tetrasperma involved more than one evolutionary event, covers the majority of the mating-type chromosome and is flanked by distal regions with obligate crossovers.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The self-fertile filamentous ascomycete Neurospora tetrasperma contains a large (approximately 7 Mbp) and young (< 6 MYA) region of suppressed recombination within its mating-type (mat) chromosomes. The objective of the present study is to reveal the evolutionary history, including key genomic events, associated with the various regions of the mat chromosomes among ten strains representing all the nine known species (lineages) contained within the N. tetrasperma species complex.<h4>Results</h4>Comparative analysis of sequence divergence among alleles of 24 mat-linked genes (mat A and mat a) indicates that a large region of suppressed recombination exists within the mat chromosome for each of nine lineages of N. tetrasperma sensu latu. The recombinationally suppressed region varies in size and gene composition among lineages, and is flanked on both ends by normally recombining regions. Genealogical analyses among lineages reveals that eight gene conversion events have occurred between homologous mat A and mat a-linked alleles of genes located within the region of restricted recombination during the evolutionary history of N. tetrasperma.<h4>Conclusions</h4>We conclude that the region of suppressed recombination in the mat chromosomes has likely been subjected to independent contraction and/or expansion during the evolutionary history of the N. tetrasperma species complex. Furthermore, we infer that gene conversion events are likely a common phenomenon within this recombinationally suppressed genomic region. We argue that gene conversions might provide an efficient mechanism of adaptive editing of functional genes, including the removal of deleterious mutations, within the young recombinationally suppressed region of the mat chromosomes.
Project description:Genome evolution is driven by a complex interplay of factors, including selection, recombination, and introgression. The regions determining sexual identity are particularly dynamic parts of eukaryotic genomes that are prone to molecular degeneration associated with suppressed recombination. In the fungus Neurospora tetrasperma, it has been proposed that this molecular degeneration is counteracted by the introgression of nondegenerated DNA from closely related species. In this study, we used comparative and population genomic analyses of 92 genomes from eight phylogenetically and reproductively isolated lineages of N. tetrasperma, and its three closest relatives, to investigate the factors shaping the evolutionary history of the genomes.We found that suppressed recombination extends across at least 6 Mbp (? 63%) of the mating-type (mat) chromosome in N. tetrasperma and is associated with decreased genetic diversity, which is likely the result primarily of selection at linked sites. Furthermore, analyses of molecular evolution revealed an increased mutational load in this region, relative to recombining regions. However, comparative genomic and phylogenetic analyses indicate that the mat chromosomes are temporarily regenerated via introgression from sister species; six of eight lineages show introgression into one of their mat chromosomes, with multiple Neurospora species acting as donors. The introgressed tracts have been fixed within lineages, suggesting that they confer an adaptive advantage in natural populations, and our analyses support the presence of selective sweeps in at least one lineage. Thus, these data strongly support the previously hypothesized role of introgression as a mechanism for the maintenance of mating-type determining chromosomal regions.
Project description:Neurospora tetrasperma is a pseudohomothallic filamentous ascomycete with a large (~ 7 Mbp) region of suppressed recombination surrounding its mating-type (mat) locus. The suppressed recombination has lead to sequence divergence between the two mating-type chromosomes of wild-type heterokaryotic strains, while the remaining genome is largely homoallelic. In this study, we use microarray technology to manifest expression divergence linked to mating type in N. tetrasperma. N. tetrasperma and N. crassa, were grown on agar regimes inducing sexual growth (Synthetic Crossing medium) and vegetative growth (Vogel's Medium), respectively. Overall design: [SC]: Neurospora tetrasperma mat-A FGSC#1270; mat-a FGSC#1271; Mat-A FGSC#9033; mat-a FGSC#9034; N. crassa mat-A FGSC#2489 and mat-a FGSC 4200: Synthetic Crossing medium was used as a nutrient regime before sampling and processing [Veg]: Neurospora tetrasperma mat-A FGSC#1270; mat-a FGSC#1271; Mat-A FGSC#9033; mat-a FGSC#9034; N. crassa mat-A FGSC#2489 and mat-a FGSC 4200: Vogel's Medium (Vegetative Medium) was used as a nutrient regime before sampling and processing
Project description:The significance of introgression as an evolutionary force shaping natural populations is well established, especially in animal and plant systems. However, the abundance and size of introgression tracts, and to what degree interspecific gene flow is the result of adaptive processes, are largely unknown. In this study, we present medium coverage genomic data from species of the filamentous ascomycete Neurospora, and we use comparative genomics to investigate the introgression landscape at the genomic level in this model genus. We revealed one large introgression tract in each of the three investigated phylogenetic lineages of Neurospora tetrasperma (sizes of 5.6 Mbp, 5.2 Mbp, and 4.1 Mbp, respectively). The tract is located on the chromosome containing the locus conferring sexual identity, the mating-type (mat) chromosome. The region of introgression is confined to the region of suppressed recombination and is found on one of the two mat chromosomes (mat a). We used Bayesian concordance analyses to exclude incomplete lineage sorting as the cause for the observed pattern, and multilocus genealogies from additional species of Neurospora show that the introgression likely originates from two closely related, freely recombining, heterothallic species (N. hispaniola and N. crassa/N. perkinsii). Finally, we investigated patterns of molecular evolution of the mat chromosome in Neurospora, and we show that introgression is correlated with reduced level of molecular degeneration, consistent with a shorter time of recombination suppression. The chromosome specific (mat) and allele specific (mat a) introgression reported herein comprise the largest introgression tracts reported to date from natural populations. Furthermore, our data contradicts theoretical predictions that introgression should be less likely on sex-determining chromosomes. Taken together, the data presented herein advance our general understanding of introgression as a force shaping eukaryotic genomes.
Project description:Currently, little is known about the origin and early evolution of sex chromosomes. This is largely due to the fact that ancient non-recombining sex chromosomes are highly degenerated, and thus provide little information about the early genomic events in their evolution. The Neurospora tetrasperma mating-type (mat) chromosomes contain a young (<6 Mya) and large region (>6.6?Mb) of suppressed recombination, thereby providing a model system to study early stages of sex chromosome evolution. Here, we examined alleles of 207 genes located on the N. tetrasperma mat a and mat A chromosomes to test for signs of genomic alterations at the protein level in the young region of recombination suppression. We report that the N. tetrasperma mat a and mat A chromosomes have each independently accumulated allele-specific non-synonymous codon substitutions in a time-dependent, and gene-specific manner in the recombinationally suppressed region. In addition, examination of the ratio (?) of non-synonymous substitutions (dN) to synonymous substitutions (dS) using maximum likelihood analyses, indicates that such changes are associated with relaxed purifying selection, a finding consistent with genomic degeneration. We also reveal that sex specific biases in mutation rates or selection pressures are not necessary for genomic alterations in sex chromosomes, and that recombination suppression in itself is sufficient to explain these results. The present findings extend our current understanding of genomic events associated within the young region of recombination suppression in these fungal sex-regulating chromosomes.
Project description:Neurospora tetrasperma is a pseudohomothallic filamentous ascomycete with a large (~ 7 Mbp) region of suppressed recombination surrounding its mating-type (mat) locus. The suppressed recombination has lead to sequence divergence between the two mating-type chromosomes of wild-type heterokaryotic strains, while the remaining genome is largely homoallelic. In this study, we use microarray technology to manifest expression divergence linked to mating type in N. tetrasperma. N. tetrasperma and N. crassa, were grown on agar regimes inducing sexual growth (Synthetic Crossing medium) and vegetative growth (Vogel's Medium), respectively. [SC]: Neurospora tetrasperma mat-A FGSC#1270; mat-a FGSC#1271; Mat-A FGSC#9033; mat-a FGSC#9034; N. crassa mat-A FGSC#2489 and mat-a FGSC 4200: Synthetic Crossing medium was used as a nutrient regime before sampling and processing [Veg]: Neurospora tetrasperma mat-A FGSC#1270; mat-a FGSC#1271; Mat-A FGSC#9033; mat-a FGSC#9034; N. crassa mat-A FGSC#2489 and mat-a FGSC 4200: Vogel's Medium (Vegetative Medium) was used as a nutrient regime before sampling and processing
Project description:The origin and early evolution of sex chromosomes are currently poorly understood. The Neurospora tetrasperma mating-type (mat) chromosomes have recently emerged as a model system for the study of early sex chromosome evolution, since they contain a young (<6 million years ago [Mya]), large (>6.6-Mb) region of suppressed recombination. Here we examined preferred-codon usage in 290 genes (121,831 codon positions) in order to test for early signs of genomic degeneration in N. tetrasperma mat chromosomes. We report several key findings about codon usage in the region of recombination suppression, including the following: (i) this region has been subjected to marked and largely independent degeneration among gene alleles; (ii) the level of degeneration is magnified over longer periods of recombination suppression; and (iii) both mat a and mat A chromosomes have been subjected to deterioration. The frequency of shifts from preferred codons to nonpreferred codons is greater for shorter genes than for longer genes, suggesting that short genes play an especially significant role in early sex chromosome evolution. Furthermore, we show that these degenerative changes in codon usage are best explained by altered selection efficiency in the recombinationally suppressed region. These findings demonstrate that the fungus N. tetrasperma provides an effective system for the study of degenerative genomic changes in young regions of recombination suppression in sex-regulating chromosomes.
Project description:A common feature of eukaryote genomes is large chromosomal regions where recombination is absent or strongly reduced, but the factors that cause this reduction are not well understood. Genomic rearrangements have often been implicated, but they may also be a consequence of recombination suppression rather than a cause. In this study, we generate eight high-quality genomic data sets of the filamentous ascomycete Neurospora tetrasperma, a fungus that lacks recombination over most of its largest chromosome. The genomes surprisingly reveal collinearity of the non-recombining regions and although large inversions are enriched in these regions, we conclude these inversions to be derived and not the cause of the suppression. To our knowledge, this is the first time that non-recombining, genic regions as large as 86% of a full chromosome (or 8?Mbp), are shown to be collinear. These findings are of significant interest for our understanding of the evolution of sex chromosomes and other supergene complexes.
Project description:The presence of large genomic regions with suppressed recombination (SR) is a key shared property of some sex- and mating-type determining (mat) chromosomes identified to date in animals, plants, and fungi. Why such regions form and how they evolve remain central questions in evolutionary genetics. The smut fungus Microbotryum lychnis-dioicae is a basidiomycete fungus in which dimorphic mat chromosomes have been reported, but the size, age, and evolutionary dynamics of the SR region remains unresolved. To identify the SR region in M. lychnis-dioicae and to study its evolution, we sequenced 12 genomes (6 per mating type) of this species and identified the genomic contigs that show fixed sequence differences between the mating types. We report that the SR region spans more than half of the mat chromosome (>2.3 Mbp) and that it is of very recent origin (?2 × 10(6) years) as the average sequence divergence between mating types was only 2% in the SR region. This contrasts with a much higher divergence in and around the mating-type determining pheromone receptor locus in the SR, suggesting a recent and massive expansion of the SR region. Our results comprise the first reported case of recent massive SR expansion documented in a basidiomycete fungus.
Project description:Mating-type switching in yeast occurs through gene conversion between the MAT locus and one of two silent loci (HML or HMR) on opposite ends of the chromosome. MATa cells choose HML as template, whereas MAT? cells use HMR. The recombination enhancer (RE) located on the left arm regulates this process. One long-standing hypothesis is that switching is guided by mating-type-specific and possibly RE-dependent chromosome folding. Here, we use Hi-C, 5C, and live-cell imaging to characterize the conformation of chromosome III in both mating types. We discovered a mating-type-specific conformational difference in the left arm. Deletion of a 1-kb subregion within the RE, which is not necessary during switching, abolished mating-type-dependent chromosome folding. The RE is therefore a composite element with one subregion essential for donor selection during switching and a separate region involved in modulating chromosome conformation.