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Elife DOI:10.7554/eLife.19090

Structure of the germline genome of Tetrahymena thermophila and relationship to the massively rearranged somatic genome.

Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsHamilton, EP, Kapusta, A, Huvos, PE, Bidwell, SL, Zafar, N, Tang, H, Hadjithomas, M, Krishnakumar, V, Badger, JH, Caler, EV, Russ, C, Zeng, Q, Fan, L, Levin, JZ, Shea, T, Young, SK, Hegarty, R, Daza, R, Gujja, S, Wortman, JR, Birren, BW, Nusbaum, C, Thomas, J, Carey, CM, Pritham, EJ, Feschotte, C, Noto, T, Mochizuki, K, Papazyan, R, Taverna, SD, Dear, PH, Cassidy-Hanley, DM, Xiong, J, Miao, W, Orias, E, Coyne, RS
Date Published2016 Nov 28

The germline genome of the binucleated ciliate Tetrahymena thermophila undergoes programmed chromosome breakage and massive DNA elimination to generate the somatic genome. Here, we present a complete sequence assembly of the germline genome and analyze multiple features of its structure and its relationship to the somatic genome, shedding light on the mechanisms of genome rearrangement as well as the evolutionary history of this remarkable germline/soma differentiation. Our results strengthen the notion that a complex, dynamic, and ongoing interplay between mobile DNA elements and the host genome have shaped Tetrahymena chromosome structure, locally and globally. Non-standard outcomes of rearrangement events, including the generation of short-lived somatic chromosomes and excision of DNA interrupting protein-coding regions, may represent novel forms of developmental gene regulation. We also compare Tetrahymena's germline/soma differentiation to that of other characterized ciliates, illustrating the wide diversity of adaptations that have occurred within this phylum.


Alternate JournalElife
PubMed ID27892853
PubMed Central IDPMC5182062
Grant ListR01 GM077582 / GM / NIGMS NIH HHS / United States
U54 HG003067 / HG / NHGRI NIH HHS / United States