Chromosomal distribution and evolution of retrotransposons in diploid and polyploid Brachiaria forage grasses

Brachiaria Retrotransposon Family Distribution: Santos et al. Chromosome Research 2015

319. Santos FC, Guyot R, Valle CB do, Chiari L, Techio VH, Heslop-Harrison P, Vanzela ALL. 2015. Chromosomal distribution and evolution of abundant retrotransposons in plants: gypsy elements in diploid and polyploid Brachiaria forage grasses. Chromosome Research 23(3): 571-582. DOI: 10.1007/s10577-015-9492-6 Text Brachiaria_Fabiola_Santos_etal AuthorVersion.

Abstract: Like other eukaryotes, the nuclear genome of plants consists of DNA with a small proportion of low-copy DNA (genes and regulatory sequences) and very abundant DNA sequence motifs that are repeated thousands up to millions of times in the genomes including transposable elements (TEs) and satellite DNA. Retrotransposons, one class of TEs, are sequences that amplify via an RNA intermediate and reinsert into the genome, are often the major fraction of a genome. Here, we put research on retrotransposons into the larger context of plant repetitive DNA and genome behaviour, showing features of genome evolution in a grass genus, Brachiaria, in relation to other plant species. We show the contrasting amplification of different retroelement fractions across the genome with characteristics for various families and domains. The genus Brachiaria includes both diploid and polyploid species, with similar chromosome types and chromosome basic numbers x  = 6, 7, 8 and 9. The polyploids reproduce asexually and are apomictic, but there are also sexual species. Cytogenetic studies and flow cytometry indicate a large variation in DNA content (C-value), chromosome sizes and genome organization. In order to evaluate the role of transposable elements in the genome and karyotype organization of species of Brachiaria, we searched for sequences similar to conserved regions of TEs in RNAseq reads library produced in Brachiaria decumbens. Of the 9649 TE-like contigs, 4454 corresponded to LTR-retrotransposons, and of these, 79.5 % were similar to members of the gypsy superfamily. Sequences of conserved protein domains of gypsy were used to design primers for producing the probes. The probes were used in FISH against chromosomes of accesses of B. decumbens, Brachiaria brizantha, Brachiaria ruziziensis and Brachiaria humidicola. Probes showed hybridization signals predominantly in proximal regions, especially those for retrotransposons of the clades CRM and Athila, while elements of Del and Tat exhibited dispersed signals, in addition to those proximal signals. These results show that the proximal region of Brachiaria chromosomes is a hotspot for retrotransposon insertion, particularly for the gypsy family. The combination of high-throughput sequencing and a chromosome-centric cytogenetic approach allows the abundance, organization and nature of transposable elements to be characterized in unprecedented detail. By their amplification and dispersal, retrotransposons can affect gene expression; they can lead to rapid diversification of chromosomes between species and, hence, are useful for studies of genome evolution and speciation in the Brachiaria genus. Centromeric regions can be identified and mapped, and retrotransposon markers can also assisting breeders in the developing and exploiting interspecific hybrids.

Keywords

centromeres retrotransposons FISH in situ hybridization metaviridae grasses genomics genome organization transposons transposable elements genetics repetitive DNA chromosomes

More about Fabiola Santos on molcyt.com

319. Santos FC, Guyot R, Valle CB do, Chiari L, Techio VH, Heslop-Harrison P, Vanzela ALL. 2015. Chromosomal distribution and evolution of abundant retrotransposons in plants: gypsy elements in diploid and polyploid Brachiaria forage grasses. Chromosome Research 23(3): 571-582. DOI: 10.1007/s10577-015-9492-6 Text Brachiaria_Fabiola_Santos_etal AuthorVersion.

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About Pat Heslop-Harrison

Professor of Molecular Cytogenetics and Cell Biology, University of Leicester Chief Editor, Annals of Botany. Research: genome evolution, breeding and biodiversity in agricultural species; the impact of agriculture; evalutation of research and advanced training.
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