Use of fluorescent protein to analyse recombination at three loci in Neurospora crassa.
ABSTRACT: We have inserted a histone H1-GFP fusion gene adjacent to three loci on different chromosomes of Neurospora crassa and made mating pairs in which a wild type version of GFP is crossed to one with a mutation in the 5' end of GFP. The loci are his-3, am and his-5, chosen because recombination mechanisms appear to differ between his-3 and am, and because crossing over adjacent to his-5, like his-3, is regulated by rec-2. At his-3, the frequencies of crossing over between GFP and the centromere and of conversion of 5'GFP to GFP(+) are comparable to those obtained by classical recombination assays, as is the effect of rec-2 on these frequencies, suggesting that our system does not alter the process of recombination. At each locus we have obtained sufficient data, on both gene conversion and crossing over, to be able to assess the effect of deletion of any gene involved in recombination. In addition, crosses between a GFP(+) strain and one with normal sequence at all three loci have been used to measure the interval to the centromere and to show that GFP experiences gene conversion with this system. Since any gene expressed in meiosis is silenced in Neurospora if hemizygous, any of our GFP(+) strains can be used as a quick screen to determine if a gene deleted by the Neurospora Genome Project is involved in crossing over or gene conversion.
Project description:Crossovers ensure the accurate segregation of homologous chromosomes from one another during meiosis. Here, we describe the identity and function of the Drosophila melanogaster gene recombination defective (rec), which is required for most meiotic crossing over. We show that rec encodes a member of the mini-chromosome maintenance (MCM) protein family. Six MCM proteins (MCM2-7) are essential for DNA replication and are found in all eukaryotes. REC is the Drosophila ortholog of the recently identified seventh member of this family, MCM8. Our phylogenetic analysis reveals the existence of yet another family member, MCM9, and shows that MCM8 and MCM9 arose early in eukaryotic evolution, though one or both have been lost in multiple eukaryotic lineages. Drosophila has lost MCM9 but retained MCM8, represented by REC. We used genetic and molecular methods to study the function of REC in meiotic recombination. Epistasis experiments suggest that REC acts after the Rad51 ortholog SPN-A but before the endonuclease MEI-9. Although crossovers are reduced by 95% in rec mutants, the frequency of noncrossover gene conversion is significantly increased. Interestingly, gene conversion tracts in rec mutants are about half the length of tracts in wild-type flies. To account for these phenotypes, we propose that REC facilitates repair synthesis during meiotic recombination. In the absence of REC, synthesis does not proceed far enough to allow formation of an intermediate that can give rise to crossovers, and recombination proceeds via synthesis-dependent strand annealing to generate only noncrossover products.
Project description:Analysis of thousands of ?msh-2 octads using our fluorescent recombination system indicates that, as in other filamentous fungi, symmetric heteroduplex is common in the his-3 region of Neurospora crassa. Symmetric heteroduplex arises from Holliday junction migration, and we suggest this mechanism explains the high frequency of His+ spores in heteroallelic crosses in which recombination is initiated cis to the his-3 allele further from the initiator, cog+. In contrast, when recombination is initiated cis to the his-3 allele closer to cog+, His+ spores are mainly a result of synthesis-dependent strand annealing, yielding asymmetric heteroduplex. Loss of Msh-2 function increases measures of allelic recombination in both his-3 and the fluorescent marker gene, indicating that mismatches in asymmetric heteroduplex, as in Saccharomyces cerevisiae, tend to be repaired in the direction of restoration. Furthermore, the presence of substantial numbers of conversion octads in crosses lacking Msh-2 function suggests that the disjunction pathway described in S. cerevisiae is also active in Neurospora, adding to evidence for a universal model for meiotic recombination.
Project description:Recombination occurs through both homologous crossing over and homologous gene conversion during meiosis. The contribution of recombination relative to mutation is expected to be dramatically reduced in inbreeding organisms. We report coalescent-based estimates of the recombination parameter (rho) relative to estimates of the mutation parameter (theta) for 18 genes from the highly self-fertilizing grass, wild barley, Hordeum vulgare ssp. spontaneum. Estimates of rho/theta are much greater than expected, with a mean rho/theta approximately 1.5, similar to estimates from outcrossing species. We also estimate rho with and without the contribution of gene conversion. Genotyping errors can mimic the effect of gene conversion, upwardly biasing estimates of the role of conversion. Thus we report a novel method for identifying genotyping errors in nucleotide sequence data sets. We show that there is evidence for gene conversion in many large nucleotide sequence data sets including our data that have been purged of all detectable sequencing errors and in data sets from Drosophila melanogaster, D. simulans, and Zea mays. In total, 13 of 27 loci show evidence of gene conversion. For these loci, gene conversion is estimated to contribute an average of twice as much as crossing over to total recombination.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Although their role in cell division is essential, centromeres evolve rapidly in animals, plants and yeasts. Unlike the complex centromeres of plants and aminals, the point centromeres of Saccharomcyes yeasts can be readily sequenced to distinguish amongst the possible explanations for fast centromere evolution. RESULTS: Using DNA sequences of all 16 centromeres from 34 strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and population genomic data from Saccharomyces paradoxus, I show that centromeres in both species evolve 3 times more rapidly even than selectively unconstrained DNA. Exceptionally high levels of polymorphism seen in multiple yeast populations suggest that rapid centromere evolution does not result from the repeated selective sweeps expected under meiotic drive. I further show that there is little evidence for crossing-over or gene conversion within centromeres, although there is clear evidence for recombination in their immediate vicinity. Finally I show that the mutation spectrum at centromeres is consistent with the pattern of spontaneous mutation elsewhere in the genome. CONCLUSIONS: These results indicate that rapid centromere evolution is a common phenomenon in yeast species. Furthermore, these results suggest that rapid centromere evolution does not result from the mutagenic effect of gene conversion, but from a generalised increase in the mutation rate, perhaps arising from the unusual chromatin structure at centromeres in yeast and other eukaryotes.
Project description:Centromeres are the most dynamic regions of the genome, yet they are typified by little or no crossing over, making it difficult to explain the origin of this diversity. To address this question, we developed a novel CENH3 ChIP display method that maps kinetochore footprints over transposon-rich areas of centromere cores. A high level of polymorphism made it possible to map a total of 238 within-centromere markers using maize recombinant inbred lines. Over half of the markers were shown to interact directly with kinetochores (CENH3) by chromatin immunoprecipitation. Although classical crossing over is fully suppressed across CENH3 domains, two gene conversion events (i.e., non-crossover marker exchanges) were identified in a mapping population. A population genetic analysis of 53 diverse inbreds suggests that historical gene conversion is widespread in maize centromeres, occurring at a rate >1x10(-5)/marker/generation. We conclude that gene conversion accelerates centromere evolution by facilitating sequence exchange among chromosomes.
Project description:The completion of genome-sequencing projects for a number of fungi set the stage for detailed investigations of proteins. We report the generation of versatile expression vectors for detection and isolation of proteins and protein complexes in the filamentous fungus Neurospora crassa. The vectors, which can be adapted for other fungi, contain C- or N-terminal FLAG, HA, Myc, GFP, or HAT-FLAG epitope tags with a flexible poly-glycine linker and include sequences for targeting to the his-3 locus in Neurospora. To introduce mutations at native loci, we also made a series of knock-in vectors containing epitope tags followed by the selectable marker hph (resulting in hygromycin resistance) flanked by two loxP sites. We adapted the Cre/loxP system for Neurospora, allowing the selectable marker hph to be excised by introduction of Cre recombinase into a strain containing a knock-in cassette. Additionally, a protein purification method was developed on the basis of the HAT-FLAG tandem affinity tag system, which was used to purify HETEROCHROMATIN PROTEIN 1 (HP1) and associated proteins from Neurospora. As expected on the basis of yeast two-hybrid and co-immunoprecipitation (Co-IP) experiments, the Neurospora DNA methyltransferase DIM-2 was found in a complex with HP1. Features of the new vectors allowed for verification of an interaction between HP1 and DIM-2 in vivo by Co-IP assays on proteins expressed either from their native loci or from the his-3 locus.
Project description:Meiotic recombination of sex chromosomes is thought to be repressed in organisms with heterogametic sex determination (e.g. mammalian X/Y chromosomes), due to extensive divergence and chromosomal rearrangements between the two chromosomes. However, proper segregation of sex chromosomes during meiosis requires crossing-over occurring within the pseudoautosomal regions (PAR). Recent studies reveal that recombination, in the form of gene conversion, is widely distributed within and may have played important roles in the evolution of some chromosomal regions within which recombination was thought to be repressed, such as the centromere cores of maize. Cryptococcus neoformans, a major human pathogenic fungus, has an unusually large mating-type locus (MAT, >100 kb), and the MAT alleles from the two opposite mating-types show extensive nucleotide sequence divergence and chromosomal rearrangements, mirroring characteristics of sex chromosomes. Meiotic recombination was assumed to be repressed within the C. neoformans MAT locus. A previous study identified recombination hot spots flanking the C. neoformans MAT, and these hot spots are associated with high GC content. Here, we investigated a GC-rich intergenic region located within the MAT locus of C. neoformans to establish if this region also exhibits unique recombination behavior during meiosis. Population genetics analysis of natural C. neoformans isolates revealed signals of homogenization spanning this GC-rich intergenic region within different C. neoformans lineages, consistent with a model in which gene conversion of this region during meiosis prevents it from diversifying within each lineage. By analyzing meiotic progeny from laboratory crosses, we found that meiotic recombination (gene conversion) occurs around the GC-rich intergenic region at a frequency equal to or greater than the meiotic recombination frequency observed in other genomic regions. We discuss the implications of these findings with regards to the possible functional and evolutionary importance of gene conversion within the C. neoformans MAT locus and, more generally, in fungi.
Project description:GC-favouring gene conversion enables fixation of deleterious alleles, disturbs tests of natural selection and potentially explains both the evolution of recombination as well as the commonly reported intragenomic correlation between G+C content and recombination rate. In addition, gene conversion disturbs linkage disequilibrium, potentially affecting the ability to detect causative variants. However, the importance and generality of these effects is unresolved, not simply because direct analyses are technically challenging but also because previous within- and between-species discrepant results can be hard to appraise owing to methodological differences. Here we report results of methodologically uniform whole-genome sequencing of all tetrad products in Saccharomyces, Neurospora, Chlamydomonas and Arabidopsis. The proportion of polymorphic markers converted varies over three orders of magnitude between species (from 2% of markers converted in yeast to only ~0.005% in the two plants) with at least 87.5% of the variance in per tetrad conversion rates being between species. This is largely due to differences in recombination rate and median tract length. Despite three of the species showing a positive GC-recombination correlation, there is no significant net AT?GC conversion bias in any of the species, despite relatively high resolution in the two taxa (Saccharomyces and Neurospora) with relatively common gene conversion. The absence of a GC bias means that: (1) there should be no presumption that gene conversion is GC biased, or (2) that a GC-recombination correlation necessarily implies biased gene conversion, (3) K a/K s tests should be unaffected in these species and (4) it is unlikely that gene conversion explains the evolution of recombination.
Project description:In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, meiosis-specific DNA breaks that initiate recombination are observed at prominent but widely separated sites. We investigated the relationship between breakage and recombination at one of these sites, the mbs1 locus on chromosome I. Breaks corresponding to 10% of chromatids were mapped to four clusters spread over a 2.1-kb region. Gene conversion of markers within the clusters occurred in 11% of tetrads (3% of meiotic chromatids), making mbs1 a conversion hotspot when compared to other fission yeast markers. Approximately 80% of these conversions were associated with crossing over of flanking markers, suggesting a strong bias in meiotic break repair toward the generation of crossovers. This bias was observed in conversion events at three other loci, ade6, ade7, and ura1. A total of 50-80% of all crossovers seen in a 90-kb region flanking mbs1 occurred in a 4.8-kb interval containing the break sites. Thus, mbs1 is also a hotspot of crossing over, with breakage at mbs1 generating most of the crossovers in the 90-kb interval. Neither Rec12 (Spo11 ortholog) nor I-SceI-induced breakage at mbs1 was significantly associated with crossing over in an apparently break-free interval >25 kb away. Possible mechanisms for generating crossovers in such break-free intervals are discussed.
Project description:The evolutionary importance of meiosis may not solely be associated with allelic shuffling caused by crossing-over but also have to do with its more immediate effects such as gene conversion. Although estimates of the crossing-over rate are often well resolved, the gene conversion rate is much less clear. In Arabidopsis, for example, next-generation sequencing approaches suggest that the two rates are about the same, which contrasts with indirect measures, these suggesting an excess of gene conversion. Here, we provide analysis of this problem by sequencing 40 F(2) Arabidopsis plants and their parents. Small gene conversion tracts, with biased gene conversion content, represent over 90% (probably nearer 99%) of all recombination events. The rate of alteration of protein sequence caused by gene conversion is over 600 times that caused by mutation. Finally, our analysis reveals recombination hot spots and unexpectedly high recombination rates near centromeres. This may be responsible for the previously unexplained pattern of high genetic diversity near Arabidopsis centromeres.