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.
- Kaustuv Sanyal
- Kaustuv Sanyal
- Joseph Heitman
- Thomas L Dawson
- Sundar Ram Sankaranarayanan
- Md Hashim Reza
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Wolf-Dietrich Heyer, University of California, Davis, United States
- Received: November 26, 2019
- Accepted: January 20, 2020
- Accepted Manuscript published: January 20, 2020 (version 1)
© 2020, Sankaranarayanan et al.
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