Loss of centromere function drives karyotype evolution in closely related Malassezia species.

Sankaranarayanan SR, Ianiri G, Coelho MA, Reza MH, Thimmappa BC, Ganguly P, Vadnala RN, Sun S, Siddharthan R, Tellgren-Roth C, Dawson TL, Heitman J, Sanyal K

Elife 9 (-) - [2020-01-20; online 2020-01-20]

Genomic rearrangements associated with speciation often result in chromosome number variation among closely related species. Malassezia species show variable karyotypes ranging between 6 and 9 chromosomes. Here, we experimentally identified all 8 centromeres in M. sympodialis as 3 to 5 kb long kinetochore-bound regions spanning an AT-rich core and depleted of the canonical histone H3. Centromeres of similar sequence features were identified as CENP-A-rich regions in Malassezia furfur with 7 chromosomes, and histone H3 depleted regions in Malassezia slooffiae and Malassezia globosa with 9 chromosomes each. Analysis of synteny conservation across centromeres with newly generated chromosome-level genome assemblies suggests two distinct mechanisms of chromosome number reduction from an inferred 9-chromosome ancestral state: (a) chromosome breakage followed by loss of centromere DNA and (b) centromere inactivation accompanied by changes in DNA sequence following chromosome-chromosome fusion. We propose AT-rich centromeres drive karyotype diversity in the Malassezia species complex through breakage and inactivation.

NGI Uppsala (Uppsala Genome Center) [Collaborative]

National Genomics Infrastructure [Collaborative]

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PubMed 31958060

DOI 10.7554/eLife.53944

Crossref 10.7554/eLife.53944

53944