Neither a germ line-specific nor several somatically expressed genes are lost or rearranged during embryonic chromatin diminution in the nematode Ascaris lumbricoides var. suum.
ABSTRACT Ascaris lumbricoides var. suum is a parasitic nematode of pigs. Its embryos undergo chromatin diminution between the third and fifth cleavages, resulting in the loss of about 30% of the DNA from all somatic precursor cells while the germ line DNA stays intact. Most of the eliminated DNA has been shown to be satellite sequences. Theodor Boveri [(1910) In "Festschrift fur R. Hertwig, III," Vol. 3, pp. 131-214, Fischer] proposed that functions essential only to the germ line might be lost from the soma. We have examined this proposal by cloning a gene encoding the major sperm protein (MSP) using a cloned MSP gene from Caenorhabditis elegans as a probe. The MSP appears to be expressed only in the testis of Ascaris, as it is in Caenorhabditis. Actin and alpha tubulin were also cloned to serve as somatically expressed gene controls. By probing Southern blots of somatic and germ line DNA with these cloned genes, it was found that none of them was lost or rearranged during chromatin diminution. Thus at least one germ line-specific gene is neither lost nor rearranged during chromatin diminution. We also found that the two nematode species differ widely in their numbers of both MSP and actin genes. Caenorhabditis has greater than 30 MSP genes, but Ascaris has no more than three; whereas Ascaris has many more actin genes than Caenorhabditis.
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ABSTRACT: The number of genes predicted for the Caenorhabditis elegans genome is remarkably high: approximately 20,000, if both protein-coding and RNA-coding genes are counted. This article discusses possible explanations for such a high value.Genome biology 02/2001; 2(11):COMMENT2008. · 6.63 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: MAP (mitogen-activated protein) kinase activation is a prerequisite for oocyte maturation, ovulation and fertilisation in many animals. In the hermaphroditic nematode Caenorhabditis elegans, an MSP (major sperm protein) dependent pathway is utilised for MAP kinase activation and successive oocyte maturation with extracellular MSP released from sperm acting as activator. How oocyte-to-embryo transition is triggered in parthenogenetic nematode species that lack sperm, is not known. We investigated two key elements of oocyte-to-embryo transition, MSP expression and MAP kinase signaling, in two parthenogenetic nematodes and their close hermaphroditic relatives. While activated MAP kinase is present in all analysed nematodes irrespective of the reproductive mode, MSP expression differs. In contrast to hermaphroditic or bisexual species, we do not find MSP expression at the protein level in parthenogenetic nematodes. However, genomic sequence analysis indicates that functional MSP genes are present in several parthenogenetic species. We present three alternative interpretations to explain our findings. (1) MSP has lost its function as a trigger of MAP kinase activation and is not expressed in parthenogenetic nematodes. Activation of the MAP kinase pathway is achieved by another, unknown mechanism. Functional MSP genes are required for occasionally emerging males found in some parthenogenetic species. (2) Because of long-term disadvantages, parthenogenesis is of recent origin. MSP genes remained intact during this short interval although they are useless. As in the first scenario, an unknown mechanism is responsible for MAP kinase activation. (3) The molecular machinery regulating oocyte-to-embryo transition in parthenogenetic nematodes is conserved with respect to C. elegans, thus requiring intact MSP genes. However, MSP expression has been shifted to non-sperm cells and is reduced below the detection limits, but is still sufficient to trigger MAP kinase activation and embryogenesis.BMC Developmental Biology 01/2010; 10:51. · 2.79 Impact Factor
Article: A newly formed telomere in Ascaris suum does not exert a telomere position effect on a nearby gene.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: During the process of chromatin diminution in Ascaris suum (formerly named Ascaris lumbricoides var. suum), developmentally regulated chromosomal fragmentation and new telomere addition occur within specific chromosomal breakage regions (CBRs). The DNA sequences flanking one of these CBRs (CBR-1) were analyzed, and two protein-encoding genes were found on either side. The noneliminated gene, agp-1, whose AUG start codon is located within approximately 2 kb of the boundary of CBR-1, encodes a putative GTP-binding protein which is structurally related to eukaryotic and prokaryotic elongation factors. Northern (RNA) blot analyses revealed that transcripts of this gene are present at all developmental stages, suggesting that the massive chromosomal rearrangements associated with the process of chromatin diminution have no influence on agp-1 expression. This demonstrates that addition of new telomeres in CBR-1 does not result in a telomeric position effect, a phenomenon previously described in Saccharomyces cerevisiae.Molecular and Cellular Biology 01/1996; 16(1):130-4. · 5.53 Impact Factor