Sequence-specific physical properties of African green monkey alpha-satellite DNA contribute to centromeric heterochromatin formation.

Department Biophysical Engineering, Faculty of Science and Technology and Mesa+ Institute for Nanotechnology, University of Twente, PO Box 217, 7500 AE Enschede, The Netherlands. m.bussiek@utwente.
Journal of Structural Biology (Impact Factor: 3.36). 04/2009; 167(1):36-46. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsb.2009.03.010
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Satellite DNA, a major component of eukaryotic centromeric heterochromatin, is potentially associated with the processes ensuring the faithful segregation of the genetic material during cell division. Structural properties of alpha-satellite DNA (AS) from African green monkey (AGM) were studied. Atomic force microscopy imaging showed smaller end-to-end distances of AS fragments than would be expected for the persistence length of random sequence DNA. The apparent persistence length of the AS was determined as 35nm. Gel-electrophoresis indicated only a weak contribution of intrinsic curvature to the DNA conformations suggesting an additional contribution of an elevated bending flexibility to the reduced end-to-end distances. Next, the force-extension behavior of the naked AS and in complex with nucleosomes was studied using optical tweezers. The naked AS showed a reduced overstretching transition force (-18% the value determined for random DNA) and higher forces required to straighten the DNA. Finally, reconstituted AS nucleosomes disrupted at significantly higher forces as compared with random DNA nucleosomes which is probably due to structural properties of the AS which stabilize the nucleosomes. The data support that the AS plays a role in the formation of centromeric heterochromatin due to specific structural properties and suggest that a relatively higher mechanical stability of nucleosomes is important in AGM-AS chromatin.

  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: • Allopolyploidy, a driving force in plant evolution, can induce rapid structural changes in parental subgenomes. Here, we examined the fate of homologous subtelomeric satellites in intrasection allotetraploid Nicotiana arentsii formed from N. undulata and N. wigandioides progenitors < 200,000 yr ago. • We cloned and sequenced a number of monomers from progenitors and the allotetraploid. Structural features of both cloned and genomic monomers were studied using double-strand conformation polymorphism analysis. • Two homologous satellites were isolated from N. undulata (called NUNSSP) and N. wigandioides (NWISSP). While the NUNSSP monomers were highly homogeneous in nucleotide sequences, the NWISSP monomers formed two separate clades. Likewise, the genomic NUNSSP monomers showed less DNA conformation heterogeneity than NWISSP monomers, with distinct conformations. While both satellites predominantly occupy subtelomeric positions, a fraction of the NWISSP repeats was found in an intercalary location, supporting the hypothesis that dispersion prevents the repeats becoming homogeneous. Sequence, structural and chromosomal features of the parental satellites were faithfully inherited by N. arentsii. • Our study revealed that intergenomic homogenization of subtelomeric satellite repeats does not occur in N. arentsii allotetraploid. We propose that the sequence and structural divergence of subtelomeric satellites may render allopolyploid chromosomes less vulnerable to intergenomic exchanges.
    New Phytologist 07/2011; 192(3):747-59. · 6.74 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Centromere sequences in the genome are associated with the formation of kinetochores, where spindle microtubules grow in mitosis. Centromere sequences usually have long tandem repeats (satellites). In holocentric nematodes it is not clear how kinetochores are formed during mitosis; they are distributed throughout the chromosomes. For this reason it appeared of interest to study the satellites in nematodes in order to determine if they offer any clue on how kinetochores are assembled in these species. We have studied the satellites in the genome of six nematode species. We found that the presence of satellites depends on whether the nematode chromosomes are holocentric or monocentric. It turns out that holocentric nematodes are unique because they have a large number of satellites scattered throughout their genome. Their number, length and composition are different in each species: they apparently have very little evolutionary conservation. In contrast, no scattered satellites are found in the monocentric nematode Trichinella spiralis. It appears that the absence/presence of scattered satellites in the genome distinguishes monocentric from holocentric nematodes. We conclude that the presence of satellites is related to the holocentric nature of the chromosomes of most nematodes. Satellites may stabilize a higher order structure of chromatin and facilitate the formation of kinetochores. We also present a new program, SATFIND, which is suited to find satellite sequences.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(4):e62221. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: DNA containing a sequence that generates a local curvature exhibits a pronounced retardation in electrophoretic mobility. Various theoretical models have been proposed to explain relationship between DNA structural features and migration anomaly. Here we studied the capacity of 15 static wedge bending models to predict electrophoretic behaviour of 69 satellite monomers derived from four divergent families. All monomers exhibited retarded mobility in PAGE corresponding to retardation factors ranging 1.02-1.54. The curvature varied both within and across the groups and correlated with the number, position and lengths of A-tracts. Two dinucleotide models provided strong correlation between gel mobility and curvature prediction; two trinucleotide models were satisfactory while remaining dinucleotide models provided intermediate results with reliable prediction for subsets of sequences only. In some cases, similarly shaped molecules exhibited relatively large differences in mobility and vice versa. Generally less accurate predictions were obtained in groups containing less homogeneous sequences possessing distinct structural features. In conclusion, relatively universal theoretical models were identified suitable for the analysis of natural sequences known to harbour relatively moderate curvature. These models could be potentially applied to genome wide studies. However, in silico predictions should be viewed in context of experimental measurement of intrinsic DNA curvature. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved.
    Electrophoresis 06/2013; · 3.26 Impact Factor