Deletion analysis of the selfish B-chromosome, Paternal Sex-Ratio (PSR), in the parasitic wasp Nasonia vitripennis

Beukeboom, LWW, J. H.,  Genetics,  133:637-648. 1993.

Paternal Sex Ratio (PSR) is a ”selfish” B chromosome in the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis. It is transmitted via sperm, but causes supercondensation and destruction of the paternal chromosomes in early fertilized eggs. Because this wasp has haplodiploid sex determination, the effect of PSR is to convert diploid (female) eggs into haploid (male) eggs that carry PSR. Characterizing its genetic structure is a first step toward understanding mechanisms of PSR action. The chromosome is largely heterochromatic and contains several tandemly repeated DNA sequences that are not present on the autosomes. A deletion analysis of PSR was performed to investigate organization of repeats and location of functional domains causing paternal chromosome destruction. Deletion profiles using probes to PSR-specific repetitive DNA indicate that most repeats are organized in blocks on the chromosome. This study shows that the functional domains of PSR can be deleted, resulting in nonfunctional PSR chromosomes that are transmitted to daughters. A functional domain may be linked with the psr22 repeat, but function may also depend on abundance of PSR-specific repeats on the chromosome. It is hypothesized that the repeats act as a ”sink” for a product required for proper paternal chromosome processing. Almost all deletion chromosomes remained either functional of nonfunctional in subsequent generations following their creation. One chromosome was exceptional in that it reverted from nonfunctionality to functionality in one lineage. Transmission rates of nonfunctional deletion chromosomes were high through haploid males, but low through diploid females.