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Curr Genet. 1998 Mar;33(3):216-24.

Origins and inheritance of chromosome-length polymorphisms in the barley covered smut fungus, Ustilago hordei.

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Research Centre, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, P. O. Box 3000, Main, Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada T1J 4B1.


Numerous chromomsome-length polymorphisms (CLPs) associated with chromosome IV were detected in an inbred line of race 8 of Ustilago hordei (teliospore line 1279). Polymorphisms for chromosome IV were observed in the 1600-1900-kb range in approximately 8% of the haploid sporidia originating from this teliospore collection. A monosporidial strain, 1279Ca2, exhibited a new 1620-kb chromosome band and a concurrent loss of the 1950-kb chromosome IV. A ribosomal DNA probe from Armillaria mellea specifically hybridized to both the variant 1620-kb chromosome and to the 1950-kb rDNA chromosome IV in parental strains. Following digestion of chromosome IV with HinfI, the telomere fragments of the 1620-kb chromosome were similar to those of the 1950-kb chromosome IV, indicating that the 1620-kb chromosome arose following a deletion of approximately 330 kb from chromosome IV. The Hinf1 digest of chromosome IV, when probed with the rDNA probe, revealed that much of the rDNA of chromosome IV was lost in the 1279Ca2 line. rDNA sequences were coincidentally recorded in chromosomes I and II in the sister sporidial line, 1279Ca4. When the 1279Ca2 line was mated to other members within the same tetrad and inoculated onto susceptible barley, karyotypes of tetrads and random sporidia originating from the F1 progeny possessed variant chromosomes ranging in size from 1536 to 2110 kb. Among sporidia in 5 of the 12 ordered tetrads sampled, a 1:1 ratio of the 1950-kb parental chromosome IV to the variant chromosome was observed. Within these tetrads, the two polymorphic chromosomes were identical in size and larger than that of the original variant 1620-kb chromosome suggesting that a chromosome expansion, averaging 150 kb, had occurred. In 5 of the 12 tetrads, a 1:1:1:1 ratio representing the two original parents and two recombinant chromosomes was observed, suggesting that normal or unequal recombination had occurred during meiosis. In 2 of the 12 F1 progeny tetrads, the 1950-kb chromosome IVs were apparently eliminated. In karyotypes of these sporidial lines, we observed rDNA sequences in chromosomes I and III that were translocated from chromosome IV. Among 78 random sporidia in the F1 generation, duplication of the variant chromosome IV was observed in three strains. These results suggest that polymorphisms in the rDNA chromosome IV, which consist of chromosome expansion, translocation, and chromosome elimination or duplication, are common in the 1279 strain of U. hordei and its progeny, and that this variability appears to be associated with the tandem-repeat nature of the rDNA sequences.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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