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Sex chromosome pairing and sex chromatin bodies in W-Z translocation strains of Ephestia kuehniella (Lepidoptera)

Marec, F., Traut, W.
Genome 1994 v.37 no.3 pp. 426-435
W chromosome, synaptonemal complex, translocation lines, sex chromatin, chromosome pairing, heterochromatin, Z chromosome, chromosome translocation, Ephestia kuehniella
Structure and pairing behavior of sex chromosomes in females of four T(W;Z) lines of the Mediterranean flour moth, Ephestia kuehniella, were investigated using light and electron microscopic techniques and compared with the wild type. In light microscopic preparations of pachytene oocytes of wild-type females, the WZ bivalent stands out by its heterochromatic W chromosome strand. In T(W;Z) females, the part of the Z chromosome that was translated onto the W chromosome was demonstrated as a distal segment of the neo-W chromosome, displaying a characteristic non-W chromosomal chromomere-interchromomere pattern. This segment is homologously paired with the corresponding part of a complete Z chromosome. In contrast with the single ball of heterochromatic W chromatin in highly polyploid somatic nuclei of wild-type females, the translocation causes the formation of deformed or fragmented W chromatin bodies, probably owing to opposing tendencies of the Z and W chromosomal parts of the neo-W. In electron microscopic preparations of microspread nuclei, sex chromosome bivalents were identified by the remnants of electron-dense heterochromatin tangles decorating the W chromosome axis, by the different lengths of the Z and W chromosome axes, and by incomplete pairing. No heterochromatin tangles were attached to the translocated segment of the Z chromosome at one end of the neo-W chromosome. Because of the homologous pairing between the translocation and the structurally normal Z chromosome, pairing affinity of sex chromosomes in T(W;Z) females is significantly improved. Specific differences observed among T(W;Z)1-4 translocations are probably due to the different lengths of the translocated segments.