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Genes Dev. 1999 Nov 1;13(21):2852-62.

Excision of micronuclear-specific DNA requires parental expression of pdd2p and occurs independently from DNA replication in Tetrahymena thermophila.

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Department of Biology, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York 14627, USA.


Elimination of germ-line DNA segments is an essential step in the somatic development of many organisms and in the terminal differentiation of several specialized cell types. In binuclear ciliates, including Tetrahymena thermophila, DNA elimination occurs during the conversion of the germ-line micronuclear genome into the somatic genome of the new macronucleus. Little is known about molecular determinants and regulatory mechanisms involved in this process. Pdd2p is one of a small set of Tetrahymena polypeptides whose time of synthesis, nuclear localization, and physical association with sequences destined for elimination suggest an involvement in the DNA elimination process. In this study, we report that loss of parental expression of Pdd2p leads to the perturbation of several DNA rearrangement processes in developing zygotic macronuclei, including excision of internal eliminated sequences, excision of chromosome breakage sequences, and endoreplication of the new macronuclear genome and eventually results in lethality of the progeny. We demonstrate that excision and elimination of micronuclear-specific DNA occurs independently of endoreplication of the new macronuclear genome that takes place during the same period of time. Thus, our data indicate that parental expression of Pdd2p is required for successful DNA elimination and development of somatic nuclei.

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