The centromeric region of swine chromosomes is comprised of tandemly repeated, divergent DNA monomer units. Here we report that these divergent DNA monomer sequences are organized into higher-order repeats, analogous to the hierarchical organization of α-satellite monomers in human centromeres. In this study, a centromeric cosmid clone was shown to be comprised entirely of a 3.3-kb higher-order repeat, with independent copies of this higher-order repeat more than 99% identical to each other. This higher-order repeat is composed of ten divergent monomer units of approximately 340 bp. The ten monomers are on average 79% identical, and all ten monomers are arranged in the same 5′ to 3′ orientation. In FISH analysis, a cloned 3.3-kb higher-order repeat hybridized to the centromere of Chromosome (Chr) 9 in metaphase spreads and detected two discrete foci in interphase nuclei, demonstrating that this swine higher-order repeat is chromosome-specific. The Chr 9 centromeric array spanned approximately 2.2 Mb as determined by pulsed-field gel electrophoresis. Moreover, the swine Chr 9 centromere is highly polymorphic, because an EcoRI restriction site polymorphism was detected. Thus, the assembly of divergent satellite sequences into chromosome-specific higher-order repeats appears to be a common organizational feature of both the human and swine centromere and suggests that the evolutionary mechanism(s) that create and maintain higher-order repeats is conserved between their genomes.
Mammalian Genome – Springer Journals
Published: Mar 11, 2014
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