Rye B chromosomes differently influence the expression of A chromosome-encoded genes depending on the host species

A. Boudichevskaia, A. Fiebig, K. Kumke, A. Himmelbach and A. Houben,  Chromosome Research,  2022.

The B chromosome (B) is a dispensable component of the genome in many species. To evaluate the impact of Bs on the transcriptome of the standard A chromosomes (A), comparative RNA-seq analyses of rye and wheat anthers with and without additional rye Bs were conducted. In both species, 5-6% of the A-derived transcripts across the entire genomes were differentially expressed in the presence of  2Bs. The GO term enrichment analysis revealed that Bs influence A chromosome encoded processes like “gene silencing”; “DNA methylation or demethylation”; “chromatin silencing”; “negative regulation of gene expression, epigenetic”; “post-embryonic development”; and “chromosome organization.” 244 B chromosome responsive A-located genes in + 2B rye and + B wheat shared the same biological function. Positively correlated with the number of Bs, 939 and 1391 B-specific transcripts were identified in + 2B and + 4B wheat samples, respectively. 85% of B-transcripts in + 2B were also found in + 4B transcriptomes. 297 B-specific transcripts were identified in + 2B rye, and 27% were common to the B-derived transcripts identified in + B wheat. Bs encode mobile elements and housekeeping genes, but most B-transcripts were without detectable similarity to known genes. Some of these genes are involved in cell division-related functions like Nuf2 and might indicate their importance in maintaining Bs. The transcriptome analysis provides new insights into the complex interrelationship between standard A chromosomes and supernumerary B chromosomes.

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