Interactions between U and V sex chromosomes during the life cycle of Ectocarpus

Jeromine Vigneau, Claudia Martinho, Olivier Godfroy, Min Zheng, Fabian B Haas, Michael Borg (Lead / Corresponding author), Susana M Coelho (Lead / Corresponding author)

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Abstract

In many animals and flowering plants, sex determination occurs in the diploid phase of the life cycle with XX/XY or ZW/ZZ sex chromosomes. However, in early diverging plants and most macroalgae, sex is determined by female (U) or male (V) sex chromosomes in a haploid phase called the gametophyte. Once the U and V chromosomes unite at fertilization to produce a diploid sporophyte, sex determination no longer occurs, raising key questions about the fate of the U and V sex chromosomes in the sporophyte phase. Here, we investigate genetic and molecular interactions of the UV sex chromosomes in both the haploid and diploid phases of the brown alga Ectocarpus. We reveal extensive developmental regulation of sex chromosome genes across its life cycle and implicate the TALE-HD transcription factor OUROBOROS in suppressing sex determination in the diploid phase. Small RNAs may also play a role in the repression of a female sex-linked gene, and transition to the diploid sporophyte coincides with major reconfiguration of histone H3K79me2, suggesting a more intricate role for this histone mark in Ectocarpus development than previously appreciated.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev202677
Number of pages12
JournalDevelopment
Volume151
Issue number20
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 12 Apr 2024

Keywords

  • Algae
  • Sex chromosomes
  • Sexual dimorphism
  • UV systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

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