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Chromosome Res. 2000;8(3):201-12.

A novel interspersed type of organization of satellite DNAs in Tribolium madens heterochromatin.

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Department of Molecular Genetics, Ruder Bosković Institute, Bijenicka, Zagreb, Croatia.


Analysis of arrangement of satellite DNA sequences in Tribolium madens (Insecta, Coleoptera) by Southern analysis of pulsed-field blots and two colour FISH on extended chromosomes and DNA fibres revealed a novel type of heterochromatin organization. Two satellite DNAs, distributed over the whole pericentromeric heterochromatin of all chromosomes form clusters, ranging in size from 150 kb up to several Mb. Within the clusters, both satellites are in the form of highly interspersed, short homogeneous arrays which vary in size with a lowest length limit of only few kb. The longest arrays composed of a single satellite are relatively short, up to 70 kb for satellite I, and up to 45 kb for satellite II. Only a small fraction of about 15% of satellite II is organized in long tandem repeats, while the rest is in the form of only a few repeats intermingled with satellite I. The results indicate that large clusters composed of interspersed arrays of both satellites represent a major component of T. madens heterochromatin, which is mostly devoid of long regions of other sequences. The same organizational pattern probably also includes a region of the functional centromere. We propose that such an organizational pattern of DNA sequences in heterochromatin might be common in genomes characterized by a high rate of interchromosomal exchange. This pattern of organization is different from that in other animal as well as plant species analysed up to now, in which every satellite in heterochromatin is organized in a small number of large separate domains.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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