In the ciliate Paramecium aurelia complex, thousands of internal eliminated sequences (IESs) are excised from the germline micronuclear DNA during macronuclear differentiation. Based on the resemblance of Paramecium IES end sequences to Tc1 transposon termini, it has been proposed that Paramecium IESs might have degenerately evolved from Tc1 family transposons, and still be removed by an enzyme homologous to a Tc1 transposase. In this study, we found that transposase preferentially cleaved (or nicked) 58 sites near the IESs in Paramecium DNA, at sequences consisting of TT or TCTA. Since one excision junction of the P. primaurelia W2 IES was included in such sites, this suggests that a Tc1-like transposase is involved in the IES excision process, although it is probably not a sole factor responsible for the precise cleavage. In addition, unmethylated substrate DNA appeared to decrease the cleavage specificity, suggesting an involvement of DNA methylation in the cleavage. Although these results do not directly address the transposon origin of Paramecium IESs, it is likely that the enzymatic machinery responsible for the initial cleavage is derived from a Tc1-like transposase. The mechanism necessary for precise excision is discussed, in relation to recent knowledge of IES excision obtained in Tetrahymena and Paramecium.
Genetic variation of Avicennia marina in the costal area of Vietnam was examined using microsatellite and AFLP markers. By using five microsatellite loci a total of 21 alleles were detected. The average number of alleles per locus per population ranged from 1.667 to 3.000. The observed heterozygosity varied from 0.180 to 0.263, with an average of 0.210 indicating relatively low level of genetic variation comparing to the previous studies on A. marina in the worldwide range. The expected heterozygosity was larger than the observed heterozygosity leading to positive inbreeding coefficients in all the six populations. Highly significant departures from Hardy-Weinberg Equilibrium were detected in four populations. AFLP analysis revealed a total of 386 loci, of which 232 (60.1%) were polymorphic. In congruent with microsatellite markers relatively low levels of genetic variation were detected at both gene and nucleotide levels (H = 0.086; π = 0.0054). Reduced level of genetic variation was found in the central population, and in the southern populations. Both microsatellite and AFLP markers revealed large genetic differentiation (FST = 0.262 and 0.338, respectively) indicating strong genetic structure among regional populations. Pairwise genetic distance by AFLP showed two populations in the north and the other two in the south are closely related each other.
Here we report the genomic structure including the promoter sequence and coding region of NtPDR1 (Nicotiana tabacum Pleiotropic Drug Resistance 1), which is an elicitor-responsive gene encoding an ATP binding cassette (ABC) transporter that might be involved in the defense response in tobacco, as we reported recently. The NtPDR1 gene consists of 20 exons and 19 introns. Among the introns, the first and fifth are much larger than the others and harbor typical miniature inverted-repeat transposable elements (MITEs). One of the MITE elements in the first intron, termed NtToya1, belongs to the Toya family that was recently described in rice, while the other element in the fifth intron, termed NtStowaway101, shows high homology with the Stowaway elements of the IS630-Tc1-mariner family. Many of the genes we found to harbor Toya and Stowaway elements in Nicotiana species by BLAST search are also involved in stress responses or plant-pathogen interactions. The existence of putative cis-elements (a GCC box, three W boxes, and several JA-responsive elements) in the promoter region supports our previous finding that this gene is strongly inducible by elicitation and methyljasmonate, and that this ABC transporter might be essential for plant defense responses. Furthermore, Southern blot analysis and PCR amplification of the introns harboring the MITE-like elements from genomic DNA of three Nicotiana species suggests that NtPDR1 originated from N. sylvestris.
The relationships among ant subfamilies were studied by phylogenetic analysis of rDNA sequences of 15 species from seven subfamilies. PCR primers were designed on the basis of the rDNA sequence of the Australian bulldog ant, Myrmecia croslandi, previously determined. Phylogenetic trees were constructed using sequences of a fragment of 18S rDNA (1.8 kb), a fragment of 28S rDNA (0.7 kb excluding variable regions) and a combination of the 18S and 28S rDNAs, by neighbor-joining (NJ), maximum parsimony (MP) and maximum likelihood (ML). rDNA sequences corresponding to the same fragments from three non-ant hymenopteran species (a sawfly, a bee and a wasp) were employed as outgroups. These trees indicated that the ant subfamilies were clustered singly, and, among the seven subfamilies examined, Ponerinae and six other subfamilies are in a sister-groups relationship. The relationship among the six subfamilies, however, was not clarified. The phylogenetic trees constructed in the present study are not in contradiction to the tree from cladistic analysis of morphological data by Baroni Urbani et al. (1992) and the tree from morphological and molecular data (Ward and Brady, 2003), but are inconsistent with the traditional phylogeny. The present results thus raise a question as to the status of some traditionally employed "key" morphological characters. The present results also call for a reexamination of Amblyopone traditionally treated as a member of Ponerinae as belonging to a new subfamily.
In scarab beetle species of the genus Pentodon, the lack of analysis of sex chromosomes in females along with the poor characterization of sex chromosomes in the males, prevented all previous investigations from conclusively stating sex determination system. In this study, somatic chromosomes from females and spermatogonial chromosomes from males of Pentodon bidens punctatum (Coleoptera: Scarabaeoidea: Scarabaeidae) from Sicily have been analyzed using non-differential Giemsa staining. Two modal numbers of chromosomes were obtained: 2n = 20 and 19 in females and males, respectively. This finding along with other karyological characteristics such as the occurrence of one unpaired, heterotypic chromosome at metaphase-I and two types of metaphase-II spreads in spermatocytes demonstrate that a XO male/XX female sex determining mechanism - quite unusual among Scarabaeoidea - operates in the species investigated here. Spermatocyte chromosomes have also been examined after a number of banding techniques and fluorescent in situ hybridization with ribosomal sequences as a probe (rDNA FISH). The results obtained showed that silver and CMA3 staining were inadequate to localize the chromosome sites of nucleolus organizer regions (NORs) due to the over-all stainability of both constitutive heterochromatin and heterochromatin associated to the NORs. This suggests that heterochromatic DNA of P. b. punctatum is peculiar as compared with other types of heterochromatin studied so far in other invertebrate taxa. By rDNA FISH major ribosomal genes were mapped on the X chromosome.