Centromere sequence and dynamics in Dictyostelium discoideum

Nucleic Acids Res. 2009 Apr;37(6):1809-16. doi: 10.1093/nar/gkp017. Epub 2009 Jan 29.


Centromeres play a pivotal role in the life of a eukaryote cell, perform an essential and conserved function, but this has not led to a standard centromere structure. It remains currently unclear, how the centromeric function is achieved by widely differing structures. Since centromeres are often large and consist mainly of repetitive sequences they have only been analyzed in great detail in a handful of organisms. The genome of Dictyostelium discoideum, a valuable model organism, was described a few years ago but its centromere organization remained largely unclear. Using available sequence information we reconstructed the putative centromere organization in three of the six chromosomes of D. discoideum. They mainly consist of one type of transposons that is confined to centromeric regions. Centromeres are dynamic due to transposon integration, but an optimal centromere size seems to exist in D. discoideum. One centromere probably has expanded recently, whereas another underwent major rearrangements. In addition to insights into the centromere organization and dynamics of a protist eukaryote, this work also provides a starting point for the analysis of the evolution of centromere structures in social amoebas by comparative genomics.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • Centromere / chemistry*
  • Chromosome Structures / classification
  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Ribosomal / chemistry
  • Dictyostelium / genetics*
  • Genome, Protozoan
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Phylogeny
  • Repetitive Sequences, Nucleic Acid


  • DNA Transposable Elements
  • DNA, Ribosomal

Associated data

  • GENBANK/FJ387222
  • GENBANK/FJ387223
  • GENBANK/FJ387224