Centromeres are essential genetic elements that enable spindle microtubule attachment for chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis. While this function is preserved across species, centromeres display an array of dynamic features, including: (1) rapidly evolving DNA; (2) wide evolutionary diversity in size, shape and organization; (3) evidence of mutational processes to generate homogenized repetitive arrays that characterize centromeres in several species; (4) tolerance to changes in position, as in the case of neocentromeres; and (5) intrinsic fragility derived by sequence composition and secondary DNA structures. Centromere drive underlies rapid centromere DNA evolution due to the “selfish” pursuit to bias meiotic transmission and promote the propagation of stronger centromeres. Yet, the origins of other dynamic features of centromeres remain unclear. Here, we review our current understanding of centromere evolution and plasticity. We also detail the mutagenic processes proposed to shape the divergent genetic nature of centromeres. Changes to centromeres are not simply evolutionary relics, but ongoing shifts that on one side promote centromere flexibility, but on the other can undermine centromere integrity and function with potential pathological implications such as genome instability.

Centromeres under pressure: Evolutionary innovation in conflict with conserved function / Balzano, E.; Giunta, S.. - In: GENES. - ISSN 2073-4425. - 11:8(2020), pp. 1-28. [10.3390/genes11080912]

Centromeres under pressure: Evolutionary innovation in conflict with conserved function

Balzano E.
Primo
;
Giunta S.
Ultimo
2020

Abstract

Centromeres are essential genetic elements that enable spindle microtubule attachment for chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis. While this function is preserved across species, centromeres display an array of dynamic features, including: (1) rapidly evolving DNA; (2) wide evolutionary diversity in size, shape and organization; (3) evidence of mutational processes to generate homogenized repetitive arrays that characterize centromeres in several species; (4) tolerance to changes in position, as in the case of neocentromeres; and (5) intrinsic fragility derived by sequence composition and secondary DNA structures. Centromere drive underlies rapid centromere DNA evolution due to the “selfish” pursuit to bias meiotic transmission and promote the propagation of stronger centromeres. Yet, the origins of other dynamic features of centromeres remain unclear. Here, we review our current understanding of centromere evolution and plasticity. We also detail the mutagenic processes proposed to shape the divergent genetic nature of centromeres. Changes to centromeres are not simply evolutionary relics, but ongoing shifts that on one side promote centromere flexibility, but on the other can undermine centromere integrity and function with potential pathological implications such as genome instability.
2020
Centromere; Centromere evolution; Chromosome instability; HORs; Mutagenesis; Repetitive DNA
01 Pubblicazione su rivista::01g Articolo di rassegna (Review)
Centromeres under pressure: Evolutionary innovation in conflict with conserved function / Balzano, E.; Giunta, S.. - In: GENES. - ISSN 2073-4425. - 11:8(2020), pp. 1-28. [10.3390/genes11080912]
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11573/1443049
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