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Cytogenet Genome Res. 2017;152(1):38-45. doi: 10.1159/000475740. Epub 2017 May 18.

Demonstration of 5-Methylcytosine-Rich DNA Sequences in Chiroptera.

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Department of Human Genetics, University of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany.


5-Methylcytosine-rich heterochromatic regions were demonstrated in metaphase chromosomes of 5 species of Chiroptera by indirect immunofluorescence using a monoclonal anti-5-methylcytosine antibody. These species belong to 4 genera and 2 families and are characterized by divergent karyotypes. One species (Glauconycteris beatrix) has an extremely low diploid chromosome number of 2n = 22 with only meta- to submetacentric elements and remarkably large amounts of constitutive heterochromatin located in the centromeric and pericentromeric regions of all chromosome pairs. Two species (G. beatrix and Neoromicia cf. guineensis) possess X-autosome translocations. In all species, the hypermethylated chromosome segments correspond to constitutive heterochromatin, and the numbers and positions of hypermethylated chromosome segments in the karyotypes are constant and species-specific. In some species (Pipistrellus hesperidus, Neoromicia cf. somalicus), there are several smaller chromosome pairs in which the bright anti-5-methylcytosine antibody labeling is not restricted to constitutively heterochromatic regions but is observed along the whole lengths of these chromosomes. The nature of these additional hypermethylated regions is discussed. The analysis of 5-methylcytosine-rich chromosome regions elucidates valuable data for chiropteran cytogenetics and reflects the high pace of evolution of the repetitive DNA fraction in their genomes.


5-Methylcytosine; Chiroptera; Constitutive heterochromatin; Immunofluorescence

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