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Intragenomic polymorphism and intergenomic recombination in the ribosomal RNA genes of strains belonging to a yeast species Pichia membranifaciens

Wu, Zuo-Wei, Wang, Qi-Ming, Liu, Xin-Zhan, Bai, Feng-Yan
Mycology 2016 v.7 no.3 pp. 102-111
Pichia membranifaciens, concerted evolution, eukaryotic cells, genes, internal transcribed spacers, models, ribosomal DNA, ribosomal RNA, sequence diversity, transcription (genetics), yeasts
A concerted evolution model has been proposed to explain the observed lack of sequence variation among the multiple ribosomal RNA (rRNA) gene copies in many different eukaryotic species. Recent studies on the level of intragenomic variations in the rRNA gene repeats of fungi resulted in controversial conclusions. In this study, we clearly showed that significant polymorphisms of the internal transcribed spacers (ITS1 and ITS2) of ribosomal DNA (rDNA) exist within the genome of a strain of the yeast species Pichia membranifaciens . More interestingly, we showed that the intragenomic ITS sequence polymorphisms were formed by intergenomic rDNA recombination among different P. membranifaciens strains with significantly different ITS sequences. Intergenomic rDNA recombination was also responsible for the diversification of rDNA sequences in different strains of the species. After the events bring together different rDNA types in individual genomes of the P. membranifaciens strains compared, rDNA sequence heterogeneity has remained in the genome of one but eliminated by homogenisation in the genomes of other strains. Our findings show new clue for further investigation on the mechanism of concerted evolution of rRNA genes in eukaryotes.