Ribosomal DNA (rDNA) variation in the species Triturus vulgaris meridionalis (Amphibia, Urodela) is remarkable because of unusually high intraspecific variability in the number and distribution of ribosomal loci in the karyotype; in addition, portions of the intergenic spacer (IGS) are clustered at chromosomal loci where they are not associated with ribosomal 18S and 28S RNA genes. These clusters are referred to as extraribosomal, and they appear to consist mostly of repetitive BamHI elements. In this paper, we report the complete nucleotide sequence of an IGS of T. v. meridionalis; this structural analysis is aimed to get insight into the molecular mechanism(s) of spreading of the ribosomal cistrons as well as its possible functional significance. We found that the IGS of T. vulgaris has a modular structure: modular repetitive elements contain sequences possibly related to the regulation of transcription of the ribosomal units. In particular, both ribosomal and extraribosomal IGS elements contain presumptive enhancers. Interestingly, the enhancer-containing region is mostly conserved between ribosomal and extraribosomal elements, while mutations accumulate in a region characterized by repetitions of a simple sequence motif, that we consider as a possible recombination hotspot. Our data suggest that extraribosomal elements most probably originated from ribosomal enhancer-containing elements able to move independently from the ribosomal unit at novel chromosomal positions, perhaps with the aid of the simple repetitive motif. We argue that a similar mechanism may lead to the spreading of complete repetition units as well, giving rise to multiple, and variable, ribosomal sites. We propose that hypervariability in the number and distribution of the rDNA loci, as seen in T. vulgaris, is a further mechanism to ensure redundancy, which seems to be an intrinsic property of rDNA biology, the occurrence of IGS elements independently clustered at separate chromosomal loci being a by-product of this mechanism.
|Titolo:||Molecular structure of the rDNA intergenic spacer (IGS) in Triturus: implications for the hypervariability of rDNA loci|
|Data di pubblicazione:||1997|
|Parole Chiave:||RIBOSOMAL-RNA GENES, VULGARIS-MERIDIONALIS AMPHIBIA, REPETITIVE DNA-SEQUENCE, FLANKING SEQUENCES, TRANSCRIPTION, NUCLEOLUS, URODELA|
|Digital Object Identifier (DOI):||http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s004120050253|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|