Publication details

Kinetochore size scales with chromosome size in bimodal karyotypes of Agavoideae

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Year of publication 2022
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Annals of Botany
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Keywords Asparagaceae; cell division; centromere; chromosome size evolution; genome size evolution; intracellular scaling; linear mixed models; structured illumination microscopy
Description Background and Aims In eukaryotes, the total kinetochore size (defined as a chromosomal region containing CENH3-positive nucleosomes) per nucleus strongly correlates with genome size, a relationship that has been hypothesized to stem from general intracellular scaling principles. However, if larger chromosomes within a karyotype required larger kinetochores to move properly, it could also be derived from the mechanics of cell division. Methods We selected seven species of the plant subfamily Agavoideae whose karyotypes are characterized by the presence of small and very large chromosomes. We visualized the kinetochore regions and chromosomes by immunolabelling with an anti-CENH3 antibody and DAPI (6 '-diamidino-2-phenylindole) staining. We then employed 2D widefield and 3D super-resolution microscopy to measure chromosome and kinetochore areas and volumes, respectively. To assess the scaling relationship of kinetochore size to chromosome size inside a karyotype, we log-transformed the data and analysed them with linear mixed models which allowed us to control for the inherent hierarchical structure of the dataset (metaphases within slides and species). Key Results We found a positive intra-karyotype relationship between kinetochore and chromosome size. The slope of the regression line of the observed relationship (0.277 for areas, 0.247 for volumes) was very close to the theoretical slope of 0.25 for chromosome width based on the expected physics of chromosome passage through the cytoplasm during cell division. We obtained similar results by reanalysing available data from human and maize. Conclusions Our findings suggest that the total kinetochore size to genome size scaling observed across eukaryotes may also originate from the mechanics of cell division. Moreover, the potential causal link between kinetochore and chromosome size indicates that evolutionary mechanisms capable of leading kinetochore size changes to fixation, such as centromere drive, could promote the size evolution of entire chromosomes and genomes.
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