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Ploidy and Number of Chromosomes in the Alveolate Alga Chromera velia

Vazač, Jan, Füssy, Zoltán, Hladová, Irena, Killi, Sireesha, Oborník, Miroslav
Protist 2018 v.169 no.1 pp. 53-63
Miozoa, algae, diploidy, fluorescence, genes, haploidy, hybridization, in situ hybridization, interphase, mitochondria, plastid genome, telomeres, vegetative cells
Chromera velia is an alveolate alga which represents the closest known phototrophic relative to apicomplexan parasites. Although the nuclear, mitochondrial, and plastid genomes of this alga have been sequenced, the number of chromosomes and ploidy of C. velia are unknown. We explored ploidy in the vegetative cell, the predominant stage in cultures of Chromera, using the tyramide signal amplification-fluorescence in situ hybridization (TSA-FISH) in isolated nuclei of C. velia. Probes were derived from three single copy genes coding for 4-diphosphocytidyl-2-C-methyl-D-erythritol (CDP-ME) kinase, 2-C-methyl-D-erythritol 2,4-cyclodiphosphate (MEcPP) synthase and Topoisomerase II. Our results indicate that the vegetative cell of C. velia is haploid, as each probe produced a single fluorescent signal, although the possibility of diploidy with somatic pairing of homologous chromosomes cannot be completely excluded. Restriction analysis and hybridization with the telomere probe produced eight bands suggesting the presence of four chromosomes in haploid vegetative cells of C. velia. However, when the chromerid-specific telomere probe (TTTAGGG)4 was used for TSA-FISH, we consistently obtained a double signal. This may indicate that the four chromosomes are organized in clusters in interphase nuclei of C. velia, which is a chromosome organization similar to that of their apicomplexan relatives.