Apr 10, 2020

Polymorphic centromere locations in the pathogenic yeast Candida parapsilosis

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
M. OlaGeraldine Butler


Centromeres pose an evolutionary paradox: strongly conserved in function, but rapidly changing in sequence and structure. However, in the absence of damage, centromere locations are usually conserved within a species. We report here that isolates of the pathogenic yeast species Candida parapsilosis exhibit within-species polymorphism for the location of centromeres on two of its eight chromosomes. Its old centromeres have an inverted-repeat (IR) structure, whereas its new centromeres have no obvious structural features, but are located within 30 kb of the old site. Centromeres can therefore move naturally from one chromosomal site to another, apparently spontaneously and in the absence of any significant changes in DNA sequence. Our observations are consistent with a model where all centromeres are genetically determined, such as by the presence of short or long IRs, or the ability to form cruciforms. We also find that centromeres have been hotspots for genomic rearrangements in the C. parapsilosis clade.

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