Reproduction, Fertility and Development Reproduction, Fertility and Development Society
Vertebrate reproductive science and technology
RESEARCH ARTICLE

Replication asynchrony and differential condensation of X chromosomes in female platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

Kristen K. K. Ho A , Janine E. Deakin B , Megan L. Wright A , Jennifer A. Marshall Graves B and Frank Grützner A C
+ Author Affiliations
- Author Affiliations

A School of Molecular and Biomedical Science, The University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA 5005, Australia.

B Research School of Biological Sciences, The Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia.

C Corresponding author. Email: frank.grutzner@adelaide.edu.au

Reproduction, Fertility and Development 21(8) 952-963 https://doi.org/10.1071/RD09099
Submitted: 22 April 2009  Accepted: 15 September 2009   Published: 30 October 2009

Abstract

A common theme in the evolution of sex chromosomes is the massive loss of genes on the sex-specific chromosome (Y or W), leading to a gene imbalance between males (XY) and females (XX) in a male heterogametic species, or between ZZ and ZW in a female heterogametic species. Different mechanisms have evolved to compensate for this difference in dosage of X-borne genes between sexes. In therian mammals, one of the X chromosomes is inactivated, whereas bird dosage compensation is partial and gene-specific. In therian mammals, hallmarks of the inactive X are monoallelic gene expression, late DNA replication and chromatin condensation. Platypuses have five pairs of X chromosomes in females and five X and five Y chromosomes in males. Gene expression analysis suggests a more bird-like partial and gene-specific dosage compensation mechanism. We investigated replication timing and chromosome condensation of three of the five X chromosomes in female platypus. Our data suggest asynchronous replication of X-specific regions on X1, X3 and X5 but show significantly different condensation between homologues for X3 only, and not for X1 or X5. We discuss these results in relation to recent gene expression analysis of X-linked genes, which together give us insights into possible mechanisms of dosage compensation in platypus.

Additional keywords: chromosome condensation, dosage compensation, gene expression, X chromosome inactivation.


Acknowledgements

We thank Aaron Casey, Dan Kortschak and David Adelson for valuable discussion of the results and advice on the statistical analyses. This work is supported by the Australian Research Council (DP0449984 to F.G.). F.G. is an ARC Australian Research Fellow.


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