Background. Tandemly repeated DNA, also called as satellite DNA, is a common feature of eukaryotic genomes. Satellite repeats can expand and contract dramatically, which may cause genome size variation among genetically-related species. However, the origin and expansion mechanism are not clear yet and needed to be elucidated. Results. FISH analysis revealed that the satellite repeat showing homology with intergenic spacer (IGS) of rDNA present in the tomato genome. By comparing the sequences representing distinct stages in the divergence of rDNA repeat with those of canonical rDNA arrays, the molecular mechanism of the evolution of satellite repeat is described. Comprehensive sequence analysis and phylogenetic analysis demonstrated that a long terminal repeat retrotransposon was interrupted into each copy of the 18S rDNA and polymerized by recombination rather than transposition via an RNA intermediate. The repeat was expanded through doubling the number of IGS into the 25S rRNA gene, and also greatly increasing the copy number of type I subrepeat in the IGS of 25-18S rDNA by segmental duplication. Homogenization to a single type of subrepeat in the satellite repeat was achieved as the result of amplifying copy number of the type I subrepeat but eliminating neighboring sequences including the type II subrepeat and rRNA coding sequence from the array. FISH analysis revealed that the satellite repeats are commonly present in closely-related Solanum species, but vary in their distribution and abundance among species. Conclusion. These results represent that the dynamic satellite repeats were originated from intergenic spacer of rDNA unit in the tomato genome. This result could serve as an example towards understanding the initiation and the expansion of the satellite repeats in complex eukaryotic genome.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Plant Science