Retrotransposon- and microsatellite sequence-associated genomic changes in early generations of a newly synthesized allotetraploid Cucumis × hytivus Chen & Kirkbride

Biao Jiang, Qunfeng Lou, Zhiming Wu, Wanping Zhang, Dong Wang, Kere George Mbira, Yiqun Weng, Jinfeng Chen
Plant Molecular Biology 2011, 77 (3): 225-33
Allopolyploidization is considered an essential evolutionary process in plants that could trigger genomic shock in allopolyploid genome through activation of transcription of retrotransposons, which may be important in plant evolution. Two retrotransposon-based markers, inter-retrotransposon amplified polymorphism and retrotransposon-microsatellite amplified polymorphism and a microsatellite-based marker, inter simple sequence repeat were employed to investigate genomic changes in early generations of a newly synthesized allotetraploid Cucumis × hytivus Chen & Kirkbride (2n = 4x = 38) which was derived from crossing between cultivated cucumber C. sativus L. (2n = 2x = 14) and its wild relative C. hystrix Chakr. (2n = 2x = 24). Extensive genomic changes were observed, most of which involved the loss of parental DNA fragments and gain of novel fragments in the allotetraploid. Among the 28 fragments examined, 24 were lost while four were novel, suggesting that DNA sequence elimination is a relatively frequent event during polyploidization in Cucumis. Interestingly, of the 24 lost fragments, 18 were of C. hystrix origin, four were C. sativus-specific, and the remaining two were shared by both species, implying that fragment loss may be correlated with haploid DNA content (genome size) of diploid parents. Most changes were observed in the first generation after polyploidization (S(1)) and stably inherited in the subsequent three generations (S(2)-S(4)), indicating that genomic changes might be a rapid driving force for the stabilization of allotetraploids. Sequence analysis of 11 of the 28 altered DNA fragments showed that genomic changes in the allotetraploid occurred in both coding and non-coding regions, which might suggest that retrotransposons inserted into genome randomly and had a genome-wide effect on the allotetraploid evolution. Fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) analysis revealed a unique distribution of retrotransposon and/or microsatellite flanking sequences in mitotic and meiotic chromosomes, where the preferential FISH signals occurred in the centromeric and telomeric regions, implying that these regions were the possible hotspots for genomic changes.

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