The slowdown of Y chromosome expansion in dioecious Silene latifolia due to DNA loss and male-specific silencing of retrotransposons

Puterova, J., Kubat, Z., Kejnovsky, E., Jesionek, W., Čížková, J., Vyskot, B., Hobza, R.
BMC GENOMICS 19: 153, 2018

Keywords: Epigenetics, Genome size, Silene latifolia, Transposable elements, Y chromosome
Abstract: Background: The rise and fall of the Y chromosome was demonstrated in animals but plants often possess the large evolutionarily young Y chromosome that is thought has expanded recently. Break-even points dividing expansion and shrinkage phase of plant Y chromosome evolution are still to be determined. To assess the size dynamics of the Y chromosome, we studied intraspecific genome size variation and genome composition of male and female individuals in a dioecious plant Silene latifolia, a well-established model for sex-chromosomes evolution. Results: Our genome size data are the first to demonstrate that regardless of intraspecific genome size variation, Y chromosome has retained its size in S. latifolia. Bioinformatics study of genome composition showed that constancy of Y chromosome size was caused by Y chromosome DNA loss and the female-specific proliferation of recently active dominant retrotransposons. We show that several families of retrotransposons have contributed to genome size variation but not to Y chromosome size change. Conclusions: Our results suggest that the large Y chromosome of S. latifolia has slowed down or stopped its expansion. Female-specific proliferation of retrotransposons, enlarging the genome with exception of the Y chromosome, was probably caused by silencing of highly active retrotransposons in males and represents an adaptive mechanism to suppress degenerative processes in the haploid stage. Sex specific silencing of transposons might be widespread in plants but hidden in traditional hermaphroditic model plants.
DOI: 10.1186/s12864-018-4547-7
Fulltext: contact IEB authors
IEB authors: Jana Čížková, Roman Hobza