Transcription of a protein-coding gene on B chromosomes of the Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus)

Vladimir A Trifonov, Polina V Dementyeva, Denis M Larkin, Patricia C. M. O'Brien, Polina L Perelman, Fengtang Yang, Malcolm A Ferguson-Smith, Alexander S Graphodatsky

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Most eukaryotic species represent stable karyotypes with a particular diploid number. B chromosomes are additional to standard karyotypes and may vary in size, number and morphology even between cells of the same individual. For many years it was generally believed that B chromosomes found in some plant, animal and fungi species lacked active genes. Recently, molecular cytogenetic studies showed the presence of additional copies of protein-coding genes on B chromosomes. However, the transcriptional activity of these genes remained elusive. We studied karyotypes of the Siberian roe deer (Capreolus pygargus) that possess up to 14 B chromosomes to investigate the presence and expression of genes on supernumerary chromosomes.

Here, we describe a 2 Mbp region homologous to cattle chromosome 3 and containing TNNI3K (partial), FPGT, LRRIQ3 and a large gene-sparse segment on B chromosomes of the Siberian roe deer. The presence of the copy of the autosomal region was demonstrated by B-specific cDNA analysis, PCR assisted mapping, cattle bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) clone localization and quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). By comparative analysis of B-specific and non-B chromosomal sequences we discovered some B chromosome-specific mutations in protein-coding genes, which further enabled the detection of a FPGT-TNNI3K transcript expressed from duplicated genes located on B chromosomes in roe deer fibroblasts.

Discovery of a large autosomal segment in all B chromosomes of the Siberian roe deer further corroborates the view of an autosomal origin for these elements. Detection of a B-derived transcript in fibroblasts implies that the protein coding sequences located on Bs are not fully inactivated. The origin, evolution and effect on host of B chromosomal genes seem to be similar to autosomal segmental duplications, which reinforces the view that supernumerary chromosomal elements might play an important role in genome evolution.
Original languageEnglish
Article number90
JournalBMC Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 06 Aug 2013


  • B chromosomes
  • Segmental duplications
  • Gene duplications
  • Karyotype evolution
  • Cervidae


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