Genome instability is associated with mitotic errors and cancer. This phenomenon can lead to deleterious rearrangements, but also genetic novelty, and many questions regarding its genesis, fate and evolutionary role remain unanswered. Here, we describe extreme chromosomal restructuring during genome elimination, a process resulting from hybridization of Arabidopsis plants expressing different centromere histones H3. Shattered chromosomes are formed from the genome of the haploid inducer, consistent with genomic catastrophes affecting a single, laggard chromosome compartmentalized within a micronucleus. Analysis of breakpoint junctions implicates breaks followed by repair through non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) or stalled fork repair. Furthermore, mutation of required NHEJ factor DNA Ligase 4 results in enhanced haploid recovery. Lastly, heritability and stability of a rearranged chromosome suggest a potential for enduring genomic novelty. These findings provide a tractable, natural system towards investigating the causes and mechanisms of complex genomic rearrangements similar to those associated with several human disorders.
- Bernard de Massy, Institute of Human Genetics, CNRS UPR 1142, France
© 2015, Tan et al.
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Heart development and rhythm control are highly Tbx5 dosage-sensitive. TBX5 haploinsufficiency causes congenital conduction disorders, whereas increased expression levels of TBX5 in human heart samples has been associated with atrial fibrillation (AF). We deleted the conserved mouse orthologues of two independent AF-associated genomic regions in the Tbx5 locus, one intronic (RE(int)) and one downstream (RE(down)) of Tbx5. In both lines we observed a modest (30%) increase of Tbx5 in the postnatal atria. To gain insight into the effects of slight dosage increase in vivo, we investigated the atrial transcriptional, epigenetic and electrophysiological properties of both lines. Increased atrial Tbx5 expression was associated with induction of genes involved in development, ion transport and conduction, with increased susceptibility to atrial arrhythmias, and increased action potential duration of atrial cardiomyocytes. We identified an AF-associated variant in the human RE(int) that increases its transcriptional activity. Expression of the AF-associated transcription factor Prrx1 was induced in Tbx5RE(int)KO cardiomyocytes. We found that some of the transcriptional and functional changes in the atria caused by increased Tbx5 expression were normalized when reducing cardiac Prrx1 expression in Tbx5RE(int)KO mice, indicating an interaction between these two AF genes. We conclude that modest increases in expression of dose-dependent transcription factors, caused by common regulatory variants, significantly impact on the cardiac gene regulatory network and disease susceptibility.
Meiotic chromosome segregation relies on synapsis and crossover recombination between homologous chromosomes. These processes require multiple steps that are coordinated by the meiotic cell cycle and monitored by surveillance mechanisms. In diverse species, failures in chromosome synapsis can trigger a cell cycle delay and/or lead to apoptosis. How this key step in 'homolog engagement' is sensed and transduced by meiotic cells is unknown. Here we report that in C. elegans, recruitment of the Polo-like kinase PLK-2 to the synaptonemal complex triggers phosphorylation and inactivation of CHK-2, an early meiotic kinase required for pairing, synapsis, and double-strand break induction. Inactivation of CHK-2 terminates double-strand break formation and enables crossover designation and cell cycle progression. These findings illuminate how meiotic cells ensure crossover formation and accurate chromosome segregation.