Architecture and evolution of subtelomeres in the unicellular green alga Chlamydomonas reinhardtii

Frédéric Chaux-Jukic, Samuel O’Donnell, Rory J Craig, Stephan Eberhard, Olivier Vallon, Zhou Xu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

In most eukaryotes, subtelomeres are dynamic genomic regions populated by multi-copy sequences of different origins, which can promote segmental duplications and chromosomal rearrangements. However, their repetitive nature has complicated the efforts to sequence them, analyse their structure and infer how they evolved. Here, we use recent genome assemblies of Chlamydomonas reinhardtii based on long-read sequencing to comprehensively describe the subtelomere architecture of the 17 chromosomes of this model unicellular green alga. We identify three main repeated elements present at subtelomeres, which we call Sultan, Subtile and Suber, alongside three chromosome extremities with ribosomal DNA as the only identified component of their subtelomeres. The most common architecture, present in 27 out of 34 subtelomeres, is a heterochromatic array of Sultan elements adjacent to the telomere, followed by a transcribed Spacer sequence, a G-rich microsatellite and transposable elements. Sequence similarity analyses suggest that Sultan elements underwent segmental duplications within each subtelomere and rearranged between subtelomeres at a much lower frequency. Analysis of other green algae reveals species-specific repeated elements that are shared across subtelomeres, with an overall organization similar to C. reinhardtii. This work uncovers the complexity and evolution of subtelomere architecture in green algae.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbergkab534
Pages (from-to)7571–7587
Number of pages17
JournalNucleic Acids Research
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jun 2021


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