Holocentromeres in Rhynchospora are associated with genome-wide centromere-specific repeat arrays interspersed among euchromatin

Marques, A., Ribeiro, T., Neumann, P., Macas, J., Novák, P., Schubert, V., Pellino, M., Fuchs, J., Ma, W., Kuhlmann, M., Brandt, R., Vanzela, A.L.L., Beseda, T., Šimková, H., Pedrosa-Harand, A., Houben, A.

Abstract: Holocentric chromosomes lack a primary constriction, in contrast to monocentrics. They form kinetochores distributed along almost the entire poleward surface of the chromatids, to which spindle fibers attach. No centromere-specific DNA sequence has been found for any holocentric organism studied so far. It was proposed that centromeric repeats, typical for many monocentric species, could not occur in holocentrics, most likely because of differences in the centromere organization. Here we show that the holokinetic centromeres of the Cyperaceae Rhynchospora pubera are highly enriched by a centromeric histone H3 variant-interacting centromere- specific satellite family designated “Tyba” and by centromeric retrotransposons (i.e., CRRh) occurring as genome-wide interspersed arrays. Centromeric arrays vary in length from 3 to 16 kb and are intermingled with gene-coding sequences and transposable elements. We show that holocentromeres of metaphase chromosomes are composed of multiple centromeric units rather than possessing a diffuse organization, thus favoring the polycentric model. A cell-cycle–dependent shuffling ofmultiple centromeric units results in the formation of functional (poly)centromeres during mitosis. The genome-wide distribution of centromeric repeat arrays interspersing the euchromatin provides a previously unidentified type of centromeric chromatin organization among eukaryotes. Thus, different types of holocentromeres exist in different species, namely with and without centromeric repetitive sequences.
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IEB authors: Tomáš Beseda, Hana Šimková