Ecotype-specific and Chromosome-Specific Expansion of Variant Centromeric Satellites in Arabidopsis Thaliana

Mol Genet Genomics. 2007 Jan;277(1):23-30. doi: 10.1007/s00438-006-0172-2. Epub 2006 Oct 11.


Despite the conserved roles and conserved protein machineries of centromeres, their nucleotide sequences can be highly diverse even among related species. The diversity reflects rapid evolution, but the underlying mechanism is largely unknown. One approach to monitor rapid evolution is examination of intra-specific variation. Here we report variant centromeric satellites of Arabidopsis thaliana found through survey of 103 natural accessions (ecotypes). Among them, a cluster of variant centromeric satellites was detected in one ecotype, Cape Verde Islands (Cvi). Recombinant inbred mapping revealed that the variant satellites are distributed in centromeric region of the chromosome 5 (CEN5) of this ecotype. This apparently recent variant accumulation is associated with large deletion of a pericentromeric region and the expansion of satellite region. The variant satellite was bound to HTR12 (centromeric variant histone H3), although expansion of the satellite was not associated with comparable increase in the HTR12 binding. The results suggest that variant satellites with centromere function can rapidly accumulate in one centromere, supporting the model that the satellite repeats in the array are homogenized by occasional unequal crossing-over, which has a potential to generate an expansion of local sequence variants within a centromere cluster.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Physiological / physiology*
  • Arabidopsis / physiology*
  • Centromere / genetics*
  • Chromosome Mapping
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics*
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • DNA, Plant
  • DNA, Satellite / genetics*
  • Evolution, Molecular*
  • Sequence Deletion
  • Species Specificity


  • DNA, Plant
  • DNA, Satellite