Satellite DNA-like repeats are dispersed throughout the genome of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas carried by Helentron non-autonomous mobile elements

Sci Rep. 2020 Sep 15;10(1):15107. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-71886-y.


Satellite DNAs (satDNAs) are long arrays of tandem repeats typically located in heterochromatin and span the centromeres of eukaryotic chromosomes. Despite the wealth of knowledge about satDNAs, little is known about a fraction of short, satDNA-like arrays dispersed throughout the genome. Our survey of the Pacific oyster Crassostrea gigas sequenced genome revealed genome assembly replete with satDNA-like tandem repeats. We focused on the most abundant arrays, grouped according to sequence similarity into 13 clusters, and explored their flanking sequences. Structural analysis showed that arrays of all 13 clusters represent central repeats of 11 non-autonomous elements named Cg_HINE, which are classified into the Helentron superfamily of DNA transposons. Each of the described elements is formed by a unique combination of flanking sequences and satDNA-like central repeats, coming from one, exceptionally two clusters in a consecutive order. While some of the detected Cg_HINE elements are related according to sequence similarities in flanking and repetitive modules, others evidently arose in independent events. In addition, some of the Cg_HINE's central repeats are related to the classical C. gigas satDNA, interconnecting mobile elements and satDNAs. Genome-wide distribution of Cg_HINE implies non-autonomous Helentrons as a dynamic system prone to efficiently propagate tandem repeats in the C. gigas genome.