Subtelomeric plasticity in parasitic worms leads to gene expansion.

Le 15 Juin 2023
11h30 Hybrid - online and Salle Louis Thaler, bat 22 UM

Anna V. PROTaSio

Dept. of Pathology, University of Cambridge, UK

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Subtelomeres are vaguely defined as the interface between telomeres and chromosome bodies. They are curious hypervariable regions rich in tandem and satellite repeats that contribute to inter- and intra-chromosomal segmental duplications. These large-scale duplication events can often carry genes, providing genomes with new templates for gene functional diversification, and often resulting in gene clusters of seemingly redundant or related functions. In some parasites, subtelomeric regions harbour genes involved in parasite survival, immune evasion and host range expansion.

In our work, we used computational methods to spanning gene annotation, transposable elements annotation and the latest “telomere-2-telomere” genome assembly of the human parasites Schistosoma mansoni to uncover large regions of significant homology across the genome.

We demonstrate that there is interchromosomal transfer of genes between subtelomeric regions in these parasites. In addition, we show that these regions have a high density of transposable elements, mobile genetic entities that occupy 40% of this parasite’s genome. We propose that these ectopic recombination hotspots are likely driven by high density of transposable elements.

Our work provides further evidence supporting the positive role of transposable elements in genome evolution of parasites.


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