Large-scale selective sweep among Segregation Distorter chromosomes in African populations of Drosophila melanogaster.
ABSTRACT: Segregation Distorter (SD) is a selfish, coadapted gene complex on chromosome 2 of Drosophila melanogaster that strongly distorts Mendelian transmission; heterozygous SD/SD(+) males sire almost exclusively SD-bearing progeny. Fifty years of genetic, molecular, and theory work have made SD one of the best-characterized meiotic drive systems, but surprisingly the details of its evolutionary origins and population dynamics remain unclear. Earlier analyses suggested that the SD system arose recently in the Mediterranean basin and then spread to a low, stable equilibrium frequency (1-5%) in most natural populations worldwide. In this report, we show, first, that SD chromosomes occur in populations in sub-Saharan Africa, the ancestral range of D. melanogaster, at a similarly low frequency (approximately 2%), providing evidence for the robustness of its equilibrium frequency but raising doubts about the Mediterranean-origins hypothesis. Second, our genetic analyses reveal two kinds of SD chromosomes in Africa: inversion-free SD chromosomes with little or no transmission advantage; and an African-endemic inversion-bearing SD chromosome, SD-Mal, with a perfect transmission advantage. Third, our population genetic analyses show that SD-Mal chromosomes swept across the African continent very recently, causing linkage disequilibrium and an absence of variability over 39% of the length of the second chromosome. Thus, despite a seemingly stable equilibrium frequency, SD chromosomes continue to evolve, to compete with one another, or evade suppressors in the genome.
Project description:Segregation Distorter (SD) is a system of meiotic drive found in natural populations of Drosophila melanogaster. Males heterozygous for an SD second chromosome and a normal homologue (SD+) produce predominantly SD-bearing sperm. The coadapted gene complex responsible for this transmission advantage spans the second chromosome centromere, consisting of three major and several minor interacting loci. To investigate the evolutionary history of this system, we surveyed levels of polymorphism and divergence at six genes that together encompass this pericentromeric region and span seven map units. Interestingly, there was no discernible divergence between SD and SD+ chromosomes for any of these molecular markers. Furthermore, SD chromosomes harbored much less polymorphism than did SD+ chromosomes. The results suggest that the SD-system evolved recently, swept to appreciable frequencies worldwide, and carried with it the entire second chromosome centromeric region (roughly 10% of the genome). Despite its well-documented genetic complexity, this coadapted system appears to have evolved on a time scale that is much shorter than can be gauged using nucleotide substitution data. Finally, the large genomic region hitchhiking with SD indicates that a multilocus, epistatically selected system could affect the levels of DNA polymorphism observed in regions of reduced recombination.
Project description:Diploid sexual reproduction involves segregation of allelic pairs, ensuring equal representation of genotypes in the gamete pool. Some genes, however, are able to "cheat" the system by promoting their own transmission. The Segregation distorter (Sd) locus in Drosophila melanogaster males is one of the best-studied examples of this type of phenomenon. In this system the presence of Sd on one copy of chromosome 2 results in dysfunction of the non-Sd-bearing (Sd(+)) sperm and almost exclusive transmission of Sd to the next generation. The mechanism by which Sd wreaks such selective havoc has remained elusive. However, its effect requires a target locus on chromosome 2 known as Responder (Rsp). The Rsp locus comprises repeated copies of a satellite DNA sequence and Rsp copy number correlates with sensitivity to Sd. Under distorting conditions during spermatogenesis, nuclei with chromosomes containing greater than several hundred Rsp repeats fail to condense chromatin and are eliminated. Recently, Rsp sequences were found as small RNAs in association with Argonaute family proteins Aubergine (Aub) and Argonaute3 (AGO3). These proteins are involved in a germline-specific RNAi mechanism known as the Piwi-interacting RNA (piRNA) pathway, which specifically suppresses transposon activation in the germline. Here, we evaluate the role of piRNAs in segregation distortion by testing the effects of mutations to piRNA pathway components on distortion. Further, we specifically targeted mutations to the aub locus of a Segregation Distorter (SD) chromosome, using ends-out homologous recombination. The data herein demonstrate that mutations to piRNA pathway components act as enhancers of SD.
Project description:The evolution of heteromorphic sex chromosomes creates a genetic condition favoring the invasion of sex-ratio meiotic drive elements, resulting in the biased transmission of one sex chromosome over the other, in violation of Mendel's first law. The molecular mechanisms of sex-ratio meiotic drive may therefore help us to understand the evolutionary forces shaping the meiotic behavior of the sex chromosomes. Here we characterize a sex-ratio distorter on the X chromosome (Dox) in Drosophila simulans by genetic and molecular means. Intriguingly, Dox has very limited coding capacity. It evolved from another X-linked gene, which also evolved de nova. Through retrotransposition, Dox also gave rise to an autosomal suppressor, not much yang (Nmy). An RNA interference mechanism seems to be involved in the suppression of the Dox distorter by the Nmy suppressor. Double mutant males of the genotype dox; nmy are normal for both sex-ratio and spermatogenesis. We postulate that recurrent bouts of sex-ratio meiotic drive and its subsequent suppression might underlie several common features observed in the heterogametic sex, including meiotic sex chromosome inactivation and achiasmy.
Project description:Most solid tumours are aneuploid and many frequently mis-segregate chromosomes. This chromosomal instability is commonly caused by persistent mal-oriented attachment of chromosomes to spindle microtubules. Chromosome segregation requires stable microtubule attachment at kinetochores, yet those attachments must be sufficiently dynamic to permit correction of mal-orientations. How this balance is achieved is unknown, and the permissible boundaries of attachment stability versus dynamics essential for genome stability remain poorly understood. Here we show that two microtubule-depolymerizing kinesins, Kif2b and MCAK, stimulate kinetochore-microtubule dynamics during distinct phases of mitosis to correct mal-orientations. Few-fold reductions in kinetochore-microtubule turnover, particularly in early mitosis, induce severe chromosome segregation defects. In addition, we show that stimulation of microtubule dynamics at kinetochores restores stability to chromosomally unstable tumour cell lines, establishing a causal relationship between deregulation of kinetochore-microtubule dynamics and chromosomal instability. Thus, temporal control of microtubule attachment to chromosomes during mitosis is central to genome stability in human cells.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Toll-like receptors (TLR) and related downstream signaling pathways of innate immunity have been implicated in the pathogenesis of Plasmodium falciparum malaria. Because of their potential role in malaria pathogenesis, polymorphisms in these genes may be under selective pressure in populations where this infectious disease is endemic. METHODS: A post-PCR Ligation Detection Reaction-Fluorescent Microsphere Assay (LDR-FMA) was developed to determine the frequencies of TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, MyD88-Adaptor Like Protein (MAL) single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and TLR2 length polymorphisms in 170 residents of two regions of Kenya where malaria transmission is stable and high (holoendemic) or episodic and low, 346 residents of a malaria holoendemic region of Papua New Guinea, and 261 residents of North America of self-identified ethnicity. RESULTS: The difference in historical malaria exposure between the two Kenyan sites has significantly increased the frequency of malaria protective alleles glucose-6-phoshpate dehydrogenase (G6PD) and Hemoglobin S (HbS) in the holoendemic site compared to the episodic transmission site. However, this study detected no such difference in the TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, and MAL allele frequencies between the two study sites. All polymorphisms were in Hardy Weinberg Equilibrium in the Kenyan and Papua New Guinean populations. TLR9 SNPs and length polymorphisms within the TLR2 5' untranslated region were the only mutant alleles present at a frequency greater than 10% in all populations. CONCLUSION: Similar frequencies of TLR2, TLR4, TLR9, and MAL genetic polymorphisms in populations with different histories of malaria exposure suggest that these innate immune pathways have not been under strong selective pressure by malaria. Genotype frequencies are consistent with Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium and the Neutral Theory, suggesting that genetic drift has influenced allele frequencies to a greater extent than selective pressure from malaria or any other infectious agents in these populations.
Project description:The physical connections established by recombination are normally sufficient to ensure proper chromosome segregation during female Meiosis I. However, nonexchange chromosomes (such as the Muller F element or "dot" chromosome in D. melanogaster) can still segregate accurately because they remain connected by heterochromatic tethers. A recent study examined female meiosis in the closely related species D. melanogaster and D. simulans, and found a nearly twofold difference in the mean distance the obligately nonexchange dot chromosomes were separated during Prometaphase. That study proposed two speculative hypotheses for this difference, the first being the amount of heterochromatin in each species, and the second being the species' differing tolerance for common inversions in natural populations. We tested these hypotheses by examining female meiosis in 12 additional Drosophila species. While neither hypothesis had significant support, we did see 10-fold variation in dot chromosome sizes, and fivefold variation in the frequency of chromosomes out on the spindle, which were both significantly correlated with chromosome separation distances. In addition to demonstrating that heterochromatin abundance changes chromosome behavior, this implies that the duration of Prometaphase chromosome movements must be proportional to the size of the F element in these species. Additionally, we examined D. willistoni, a species that lacks a free dot chromosome. We observed that chromosomes still moved out on the meiotic spindle, and the F element was always positioned closest to the spindle poles. This result is consistent with models where one role of the dot chromosomes is to help organize the meiotic spindle.
Project description:The addition of a new telomere onto a chromosome break, a process termed healing, has been studied extensively in organisms that utilize telomerase to maintain their telomeres. In comparison, relatively little is known about how new telomeres are constructed on broken chromosomes in organisms that do not use telomerase. Chromosome healing was studied in somatic and germline cells of Drosophila melanogaster, a nontelomerase species. We observed, for the first time, that broken chromosomes can be healed in somatic cells. In addition, overexpression of the telomere cap component Hiphop increased the survival of somatic cells with broken chromosomes, while the cap component HP1 did not, and overexpression of the cap protein HOAP decreased their survival. In the male germline, Hiphop overexpression greatly increased the transmission of healed chromosomes. These results indicate that Hiphop can stimulate healing of a chromosome break. We suggest that this reflects a unique function of Hiphop: it is capable of seeding formation of a new telomeric cap on a chromosome end that lacks a telomere.
Project description:Genetic diversity of durum wheat landraces is a powerful tool for the introgression of new alleles of commercial interest in breeding programs. In a previous study, our team structured a collection of 172 durum wheat landraces from 21 Mediterranean countries in four genetic populations related to their geographical origin: east Mediterranean (17), east Balkan and Turkey (23), west Balkan and Egypt (25), and West Mediterranean (73), leaving 34 genotypes as admixed, and association mapping was carried out for important agronomic traits. Using a subset of this collection, the current study identified 23 marker alleles with a differential frequency in landraces from east and west regions of the Mediterranean Basin, which affected important agronomic traits. Eastern landraces had higher frequencies than the western ones of alleles increasing the number of spikes (wPt-5385 on chromosome 1B), grains per m2 (wPt-0841 on chromosome 7B), and grain filling duration (7 significant marker trait associations). Eastern landraces had higher frequencies of marker alleles located on chromosomes 4A, 5B, and 6B associated with reduced cycle length, and lighter grains than the western ones. Also for lower kernel weight, four marker alleles were located on chromosome 1A. Breeders may use the molecular markers identified in the current study for improving yield under specific Mediterranean environments.
Project description:The hitchhiking model of population genetics predicts that an allele favored by Darwinian selection can replace haplotypes from the same locus previously established at a neutral mutation-drift equilibrium. This process, known as "selective sweep," was studied by comparing molecular variation between the polymorphic In(2L)t inversion and the standard chromosome. Sequence variation was recorded at the Suppressor of Hairless (Su[H]) gene in an African population of Drosophila melanogaster. We found 47 nucleotide polymorphisms among 20 sequences of 1.2 kb. Neutrality tests were nonsignificant at the nucleotide level. However, these sites were strongly associated, because 290 out of 741 observed pairwise combinations between them were in significant linkage disequilibrium. We found only seven haplotypes, two occurring in the 9 In(2L)t chromosomes, and five in the 11 standard chromosomes, with no shared haplotype. Two haplotypes, one in each chromosome arrangement, made up two-thirds of the sample. This low haplotype diversity departed from neutrality in a haplotype test. This pattern supports a selective sweep hypothesis for the Su(H) chromosome region.
Project description:In the present work, we have asked whether a group of 13 essential genes mapping to the heterochromatin of Drosophila melanogaster chromosome 2 are mutable following transposition of the I factor during I-R hybrid dysgenesis. We found that the frequency of lethal events mapping to chromosome 2 heterochromatin is surprisingly high, despite the low density of genetic functions identified in this region compared with euchromatin. Cytogenetic and molecular analyses indicated that the recovered mutations correspond either to insertions or to rearrangements. Moreover, chromosomes bearing specific heterochromatic lethal mutations were generated by recombination in the heterochromatin. Together, these data indicate that I factors transpose with high frequency into pericentric regions of chromosome 2 and may play a role in the evolution of constitutive heterochromatin.