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.
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