The integrity of the HMR complex is necessary for centromeric binding and reproductive isolation in Drosophila

Andrea Lukacs, Andreas W. Thomae, Peter Krueger, Tamas Schauer, Anuroop V. Venkatasubramani, Natalia Y. Kochanova, Wasim Aftab, Rupam Choudhury, Ignasi Forne, Axel Imhof*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Postzygotic isolation by genomic conflict is a major cause for the formation of species. Despite its importance, the molecular mechanisms that result in the lethality of interspecies hybrids are still largely unclear. The genus Drosophila, which contains over 1600 different species, is one of the best characterized model systems to study these questions. We showed in the past that the expression levels of the two hybrid incompatibility factors Hmr and Lhr diverged in the two closely related Drosophila species, D. melanogaster and D. simulans, resulting in an increased level of both proteins in interspecies hybrids. The overexpression of the two proteins also leads to mitotic defects, a misregulation in the expression of transposable elements and decreased fertility in pure species. In this work, we describe a distinct six subunit protein complex containing HMR and LHR and analyse the effect of Hmr mutations on complex integrity and function. Our experiments suggest that HMR needs to bring together components of centromeric and pericentromeric chromatin to fulfil its physiological function and to cause hybrid male lethality.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009744
Number of pages27
JournalPLoS Genetics
Volume17
Issue number8
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2021

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