The small chromosomes of Trypanosoma brucei involved in antigenic variation are constructed around repetitive palindromes.
ABSTRACT: Most eukaryotic genomes contain large regions of satellite DNA. These arrays are often associated with essential chromosomal functions, but remain largely absent from genome projects because of difficulties in cloning and sequence assembly. The numerous small chromosomes of the parasite Trypanosoma brucei fall into this category, yet are critical to understanding the genome because of their role in antigenic variation. Their relatively small size, however, makes them particularly amenable to physical mapping. We have produced fine-resolution maps of 17 complete minichromosomes and partial maps of two larger intermediate-sized chromosomes. This revealed a canonical structure shared by both chromosomal classes based around a large central core of 177-bp repeats. Around the core are variable-length genic regions, the lengths of which define chromosomal class. We show the core region to be a repetitive palindrome with a single inversion point common to all the chromosomes of both classes, suggesting a mechanism of genesis for these chromosomes. Moreover, palindromy appears to be a feature of (peri)centromeres in other species that can be easily overlooked. We propose that sequence inversion is one of the higher-order sequence motifs that confer chromosomal stability.
Project description:The constitutional t(11;22) translocation is the only known recurrent non-Robertsonian translocation in humans. Offspring are susceptible to der(22) syndrome, a severe congenital anomaly disorder caused by 3&rcolon;1 meiotic nondisjunction events. We previously localized the t(11;22) translocation breakpoint to a region on 22q11 within a low-copy repeat termed "LCR22" and within an AT-rich repeat on 11q23. The LCR22s are implicated in mediating different rearrangements on 22q11, leading to velocardiofacial syndrome/DiGeorge syndrome and cat-eye syndrome by homologous recombination mechanisms. The LCR22s contain AT-rich repetitive sequences, suggesting that such repeats may mediate the t(11;22) translocation. To determine the molecular basis of the translocation, we cloned and sequenced the t(11;22) breakpoint in the derivative 11 and 22 chromosomes in 13 unrelated carriers, including two de novo cases and der(22) syndrome offspring. We found that, in all cases examined, the reciprocal exchange occurred between similar AT-rich repeats on both chromosomes 11q23 and 22q11. To understand the mechanism, we examined the sequence of the breakpoint intervals in the derivative chromosomes and compared this with the deduced normal chromosomal sequence. A palindromic AT-rich sequence with a near-perfect hairpin could form, by intrastrand base-pairing, on the parental chromosomes. The sequence of the breakpoint junction in both derivatives indicates that the exchange events occurred at the center of symmetry of the palindromes, and this resulted in small, overlapping staggered deletions in this region among the different carriers. On the basis of previous studies performed in diverse organisms, we hypothesize that double-strand breaks may occur in the center of the palindrome, the tip of the putative hairpin, leading to illegitimate recombination events between similar AT-rich sequences on chromosomes 11 and 22, resulting in deletions and loss of the palindrome, which then could stabilize the DNA structure.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Large palindromes (inverted repeats) make up substantial proportions of mammalian sex chromosomes, often contain genes, and have high rates of structural variation arising via ectopic recombination. As a result, they underlie many genomic disorders. Maintenance of the palindromic structure by gene conversion between the arms has been documented, but over longer time periods, palindromes are remarkably labile. Mechanisms of origin and loss of palindromes have, however, received little attention. RESULTS:Here, we use fiber-FISH, 10x Genomics Linked-Read sequencing, and breakpoint PCR sequencing to characterize the structural variation of the P8 palindrome on the human Y chromosome, which contains two copies of the VCY (Variable Charge Y) gene. We find a deletion of almost an entire arm of the palindrome, leading to death of the palindrome, a size increase by recruitment of adjacent sequence, and other complex changes including the formation of an entire new palindrome nearby. Together, these changes are found in ~?1% of men, and we can assign likely molecular mechanisms to these mutational events. As a result, healthy men can have 1-4 copies of VCY. CONCLUSIONS:Gross changes, especially duplications, in palindrome structure can be relatively frequent and facilitate the evolution of sex chromosomes in humans, and potentially also in other mammalian species.
Project description:Large (>10 kb), nearly identical (>99% nucleotide identity), palindromic sequences are enriched on mammalian sex chromosomes. Primate Y-palindromes undergo high rates of arm-to-arm gene conversion, a proposed mechanism for maintaining their sequence integrity in the absence of X-Y recombination. It is unclear whether X-palindromes, which can freely recombine in females, undergo arm-to-arm gene conversion and, if so, at what rate. We generated high-quality sequence assemblies of Mus molossinus and M. spretus X-palindromic regions and compared them with orthologous M. musculus X-palindromes. Our evolutionary sequence comparisons find evidence of X-palindrome arm-to-arm gene conversion at rates comparable to autosomal allelic gene conversion rates in mice. Mus X-palindromes also carry more derived than ancestral variants between species, suggesting that their sequence is rapidly diverging. We speculate that in addition to maintaining genes' sequence integrity via sequence homogenization, palindrome arm-to-arm gene conversion may also facilitate rapid sequence divergence.
Project description:Mammalian sex chromosomes carry large palindromes that harbor protein-coding gene families with testis-biased expression. However, there are few known examples of sex-chromosome palindromes conserved between species. We identified 26 palindromes on the human X Chromosome, constituting more than 2% of its sequence, and characterized orthologous palindromes in the chimpanzee and the rhesus macaque using a clone-based sequencing approach that incorporates full-length nanopore reads. Many of these palindromes are missing or misassembled in the current reference assemblies of these species' genomes. We find that 12 human X palindromes have been conserved for at least 25 million years, with orthologs in both chimpanzee and rhesus macaque. Insertions and deletions between species are significantly depleted within the X palindromes' protein-coding genes compared to their noncoding sequence, demonstrating that natural selection has preserved these gene families. The spacers that separate the left and right arms of palindromes are a site of localized structural instability, with seven of 12 conserved palindromes showing no spacer orthology between human and rhesus macaque. Analysis of the 1000 Genomes Project data set revealed that human X-palindrome spacers are enriched for deletions relative to arms and flanking sequence, including a common spacer deletion that affects 13% of human X Chromosomes. This work reveals an abundance of conserved palindromes on primate X Chromosomes and suggests that protein-coding gene families in palindromes (most of which remain poorly characterized) promote X-palindrome survival in the face of ongoing structural instability.
Project description:DNA amplification, particularly of chromosomes 8 and 11, occurs frequently in breast cancer and is a key factor in tumorigenesis, often associated with poor prognosis. The mechanisms involved in the amplification of these regions are not fully understood. Studies from model systems have demonstrated that palindrome formation can be an early step in DNA amplification, most notably seen in the breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) cycle. Therefore, palindromes might be associated with gene amplicons in breast cancer. To address this possibility, we coupled high-resolution palindrome profiling by the Genome-wide Analysis of Palindrome Formation (GAPF) assay with genome-wide copy-number analyses on a set of breast cancer cell lines and primary tumors to spatially associate palindromes and copy-number gains. We identified GAPF-positive regions distributed nonrandomly throughout cell line and tumor genomes, often in clusters, and associated with copy-number gains. Commonly amplified regions in breast cancer, chromosomes 8q and 11q, had GAPF-positive regions flanking and throughout the copy-number gains. We also identified amplification-associated GAPF-positive regions at similar locations in subsets of breast cancers with similar characteristics (e.g., ERBB2 amplification). These shared positive regions offer the potential to evaluate the utility of palindromes as prognostic markers, particularly in premalignant breast lesions. Our results implicate palindrome formation in the amplification of regions with key roles in breast tumorigenesis, particularly in subsets of breast cancers.
Project description:DNA amplification, particularly of chromosomes 8 and 11, occurs frequently in breast cancer and is a key factor in tumorigenesis, often associated with poor prognosis. The mechanisms involved in the amplification of these regions are not fully understood. Studies from model systems have demonstrated that palindrome formation can be an early step in DNA amplification, most notably seen in the breakage-fusion-bridge (BFB) cycle. Therefore, palindromes might be associated with gene amplicons in breast cancer. To address this possibility, we coupled high-resolution palindrome profiling by the Genome-wide Analysis of Palindrome Formation (GAPF) assay with genome-wide copy-number analyses on a set of breast cancer cell lines and primary tumors to spatially associate palindromes and copy-number gains. We identified GAPF-positive regions distributed non-randomly throughout cell line and tumor genomes, often in clusters and associated with copy-number gains. Commonly amplified regions in breast cancer, chromosomes 8q and 11q, had GAPF-positive regions flanking and throughout the copy-number gains. We also identified amplification-associated GAPF-positive regions at similar locations in subsets of breast cancers with similar characteristics (e.g., ERBB2 amplification). These shared positive regions offer the potential to evaluate the utility of palindromes as prognostic markers, particularly in premalignant breast lesions. Our results implicate palindrome formation in the amplification of regions with key roles in breast tumorigenesis, particularly in subsets of breast cancers. Overall design: DNA palindrome profiles generated using the Genome-wide Analysis of Palindrome Formation (GAPF) assay. Whole genome profiling was performed on Colo320DM vs HF and MCF7 vs HF. Prolifing of chromosomes 8, 11, and 12 was performed on BT474 vs PBL, MCF7 vs PBL, MDA231 vs PBL, UACC893 vs PBL and 4 primary invasive ductal carcinomas (IDCs) vs PBL. Copy-number analysis on SNP 6.0 arrays was performed on Colo320DM and the 4 primary IDCs. The CEL files for the 4 breast cancer cell lines were obtained from the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute Cancer Genome Project web site (http://www.sanger.ac.uk/genetics/CGP). All SNP arrays were compared to the HapMap cellection reference.
Project description:Massive palindromes in the human Y chromosome harbor mirror-image gene pairs essential for spermatogenesis. During evolution, these gene pairs have been maintained by intrapalindrome, arm-to-arm recombination. The mechanism of intrapalindrome recombination and risk of harmful effects are unknown. We report 51 patients with isodicentric Y (idicY) chromosomes formed by homologous crossing over between opposing arms of palindromes on sister chromatids. These ectopic recombination events occur at nearly all Y-linked palindromes. Based on our findings, we propose that intrapalindrome sequence identity is maintained via noncrossover pathways of homologous recombination. DNA double-strand breaks that initiate these pathways can be alternatively resolved by crossing over between sister chromatids to form idicY chromosomes, with clinical consequences ranging from spermatogenic failure to sex reversal and Turner syndrome. Our observations imply that crossover and noncrossover pathways are active in nearly all Y-linked palindromes, exposing an Achilles' heel in the mechanism that preserves palindrome-borne genes.
Project description:With the identification of a novel coronavirus associated with the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), computational analysis of its RNA genome sequence is expected to give useful clues to help elucidate the origin, evolution, and pathogenicity of the virus. In this paper, we study the collective counts of palindromes in the SARS genome along with all the completely sequenced coronaviruses. Based on a Markov-chain model for the genome sequence, the mean and standard deviation for the number of palindromes at or above a given length are derived. These theoretical results are complemented by extensive simulations to provide empirical estimates. Using a z score obtained from these mathematical and empirical means and standard deviations, we have observed that palindromes of length four are significantly underrepresented in all the coronaviruses in our data set. In contrast, length-six palindromes are significantly underrepresented only in the SARS coronavirus. Two other features are unique to the SARS sequence. First, there is a length-22 palindrome TCTTTAACAAGCTTGTTAAAGA spanning positions 25962-25983. Second, there are two repeating length-12 palindromes TTATAATTATAA spanning positions 22712-22723 and 22796-22807. Some further investigations into possible biological implications of these palindrome features are proposed.
Project description:Physical mapping is a useful approach for studying genome organization and evolution as well as for genome sequence assembly. The availability of polytene chromosomes in malaria mosquitoes provides a unique opportunity to develop high-resolution physical maps. We report a 0.6-Mb-resolution physical map consisting of 422 DNA markers hybridized to 379 chromosomal sites of the Anopheles stephensi polytene chromosomes. This makes An. stephensi second only to Anopheles gambiae in density of a physical map among malaria mosquitoes. Three hundred sixty-three (363) probes hybridized to single chromosomal sites, whereas 59 clones yielded multiple signals. This physical map provided a suitable basis for comparative genomics, which was used for determining inversion breakpoints, duplications, and origin of novel genes across species.
Project description:It is widely believed that at least three nonoverlapping regions of the human Y chromosome-AZFa, AZFb, and AZFc ("azoospermia factors" a, b, and c)-are essential for normal spermatogenesis. These intervals are defined by interstitial Y-chromosome deletions that impair or extinguish spermatogenesis. Deletion breakpoints, mechanisms, and lengths, as well as inventories of affected genes, have been elucidated for deletions of AZFa and of AZFc but not for deletions of AZFb or of AZFb plus AZFc. We studied three deletions of AZFb and eight deletions of AZFb plus AZFc, as assayed by the STSs defining these intervals. Guided by Y-chromosome sequence, we localized breakpoints precisely and were able to sequence nine of the deletion junctions. Homologous recombination can explain seven of these deletions but not the remaining two. This fact and our discovery of breakpoint hotspots suggest that factors in addition to homology underlie these deletions. The deletions previously thought to define AZFb were found to extend from palindrome P5 to the proximal arm of palindrome P1, 1.5 Mb within AZFc. Thus, they do not define a genomic region separate from AZFc. We also found that the deletions of AZFb plus AZFc, as assayed by standard STSs heretofore available, in fact extend from P5 to the distal arm of P1 and spare distal AZFc. Both classes of deletions are massive: P5/proximal-P1 deletions encompass up to 6.2 Mb and remove 32 genes and transcripts; P5/distal-P1 deletions encompass up to 7.7 Mb and remove 42 genes and transcripts. To our knowledge, these are the largest of all human interstitial deletions for which deletion junctions and complete intervening sequence are available. The restriction of the associated phenotype to spermatogenic failure indicates the remarkable functional specialization of the affected regions of the Y chromosome.