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J Eukaryot Microbiol. 1996 Nov-Dec;43(6):453-61.

Epigenetic regulation of programmed genomic rearrangements in Paramecium aurelia.

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Laboratoire de Génétique Moléculaire, Ecole Normale Superieure, Paris, France.


In ciliates, development of the polyploid somatic macronucleus after sexual events involves extensive and reproducible rearrangements of the germ-line genome, including chromosome fragmentation and precise excision of numerous internal sequence elements. In Paramecium aurelia, alternative macronuclear versions of the same germ-line genome can be maternally inherited across sexual generations, showing that rearrangement patterns are not strictly determined by the germ-line sequence. Homology-dependent maternal effects can be evidenced by transformation of the vegetative macronucleus with cloned macronuclear sequences: new fragmentation patterns or internal deletions are specifically induced during differentiation of a new macronucleus, in sexual progeny of transformed clones. Furthermore, transformation of the maternal macronucleus with germ-line sequences containing internal eliminated sequences (short single-copy elements) can result in a specific inhibition of the excision of the same elements in the zygotic macronucleus. These experiments show that the processing of many germ-line sequences in the developing macronucleus is sensitive to the structure and copy number of homologous sequences in the maternal macronucleus. The generality and sequence specificity of this trans-nuclear, epigenetic regulation of rearrangements suggest that it is mediated by pairing interactions between germ-line sequences and sequences imported from the maternal macronucleus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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