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Specific features in linear and spatial organizations of pericentromeric heterochromatin regions in polytene chromosomes of the closely related species Drosophila virilis and D. kanekoi (Diptera: Drosophilidae).

Authors: Irina I. Wasserlauf, Konstantin K. Usov, Gleb G. Artemov, Tatyana T. Anan'ina, Vladimir V. Stegniy
Published: 02/27/2015, Genetica


Heterochromatin plays an important role in the spatial arrangement and evolution of the eukaryotic genetic apparatus. The closely related species Drosophila virilis (phyla virilis) and D. kanekoi (phyla montana) differ in the amount of heterochromatin along the chromosomes as well as by the presence of the metacentric chromosome 2, which emerged as a result of a pericentric inversion during speciation, in the D. kanekoi karyotype. The purpose of this study was to establish if chromosome rearrangements have any influence on the linear redistribution of centromeric heterochromatin in polytene chromosomes and the spatial organization of chromosomes in the nuclei of nurse cell. We have microdissected the chromocenter of D. virilis salivary gland polytene chromosomes; obtained a DNA library of this region (DvirIII); and hybridized (FISH) DvirIII to the salivary gland and nurse cell polytene chromosomes of D. virilis and D. kanekoi. We demonstrated that DvirIII localizes to the pericentromeric heterochromatin regions of all chromosomes and peritelomeric region of chromosome 5 in both species. Unlike D. virilis, the DvirIII signal in D. kanekoi chromosomes is detectable in the telomeric region of chromosome 2. We have also conducted a 3D FISH of DvirIII probe to the D. virilis and D. kanekoi nurse cell chromosomes. In particular, the DvirIII signal in D. virilis was observed in the local chromocenter at one pole of the nucleus, while the signal belonging to the telomeric region of chromosome 5 was detectable at the other pole. In contrast, in D. kanekoi there exist two separate DvirIII-positive regions. One of these regions belongs to the pericentromeric region of chromosome 2 and the other, to pericentromeric regions of the remaining chromosomes. These results suggest that chromosome rearrangements play an important role in the redistribution of heterochromatin DNA sequences in the genome, representing a speciation mechanism, which, in general, could also affect the chromosome orientation in the 3D nuclear space.

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