Having one and only one centromere per chromosome is essential for proper chromosome segregation during both mitosis and meiosis. Chromosomes containing two centromeres are known as dicentric and often mis-segregate during cell division, resulting in aneuploidy or chromosome breakage. Dicentric chromosome can be stabilized by centromere inactivation, a process which reestablishes monocentric chromosomes. However, little is known about this process in naturally occurring dicentric chromosomes. Using a combination of fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) and immunofluorescence combined with FISH (IF-FISH) on metaphase chromosome spreads, we demonstrate that centromere inactivation has evolved on a neo-Y chromosome fusion in the Japan Sea threespine stickleback fish (Gasterosteus nipponicus). We found that the centromere derived from the ancestral Y chromosome has been inactivated. Our data further suggest that there have been genetic changes to this centromere in the two million years since the formation of the neo-Y chromosome, but it remains unclear whether these genetic changes are a cause or consequence of centromere inactivation.
Keywords: CENP-A; Centromere inactivation; ChIP-seq; Dicentric chromosome fusion; Gasterosteus aculeatus; Gasterosteus nipponicus.