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Dev Biol 2017 Jun 15;4262:393-400. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2016.06.015.
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Sex chromosome differentiation and the W- and Z-specific loci in Xenopus laevis.

Mawaribuchi S , Takahashi S , Wada M , Uno Y , Matsuda Y , Kondo M , Fukui A , Takamatsu N , Taira M , Ito M .

Genetic sex-determining systems in vertebrates include two basic types of heterogamety; XX (female)/XY (male) and ZZ (male)/ZW (female) types. The African clawed frog Xenopus laevis has a ZZ/ZW-type sex-determining system. In this species, we previously identified a W-specific sex (female)-determining gene dmw, and specified W and Z chromosomes, which could be morphologically indistinguishable (homomorphic). In addition to dmw, we most recently discovered two genes, named scanw and ccdc69w, and one gene, named capn5z in the W- and Z-specific regions, respectively. In this study, we revealed the detail structures of the W/Z-specific loci and genes. Sequence analysis indicated that there is almost no sequence similarity between 278kb W-specific and 83kb Z-specific sequences on chromosome 2Lq32-33, where both the transposable elements are abundant. Synteny and phylogenic analyses indicated that all the W/Z-specific genes might have emerged independently. Expression analysis demonstrated that scanw and ccdc69w or capn5z are expressed in early differentiating ZW gonads or testes, thereby suggesting possible roles in female or male development, respectively. Importantly, the sex-determining gene (SDG) dmw might have been generated after allotetraploidization, thereby indicating the construction of the new sex-determining system by dmw after species hybridization. Furthermore, by direct genotyping, we confirmed that diploid WW embryos developed into normal female frogs, which indicate that the Z-specific region is not essential for female development. Overall, these findings indicate that sex chromosome differentiation has started, although no heteromorphic sex chromosomes are evident yet, in X. laevis. Homologous recombination suppression might have promoted the accumulation of mutations and transposable elements, and enlarged the W/Z-specific regions, thereby resulting in differentiation of the W/Z chromosomes.

PubMed ID: 27297884
Article link: Dev Biol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: capn5 ccdc69 dm-w dmrt1
GO keywords: W chromosome [+]

Article Images: [+] show captions