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Journal Article

Sex-biased gene expression and evolution of the x chromosome in nematodes

MPS-Authors

Albritton,  S. E.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Max Planck Society;

Kranz,  A. L.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Max Planck Society;

Rao,  P.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Max Planck Society;

Kramer,  M.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Max Planck Society;

Dieterich,  C.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Max Planck Society;

Ercan,  S.
Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Albritton, S. E., Kranz, A. L., Rao, P., Kramer, M., Dieterich, C., & Ercan, S. (2014). Sex-biased gene expression and evolution of the x chromosome in nematodes. Genetics, 197(3), 865-83. doi:10.1534/genetics.114.163311.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0028-5867-3
Abstract
Studies of X chromosome evolution in various organisms have indicated that sex-biased genes are nonrandomly distributed between the X and autosomes. Here, to extend these studies to nematodes, we annotated and analyzed X chromosome gene content in four Caenorhabditis species and in Pristionchus pacificus. Our gene expression analyses comparing young adult male and female mRNA-seq data indicate that, in general, nematode X chromosomes are enriched for genes with high female-biased expression and depleted of genes with high male-biased expression. Genes with low sex-biased expression do not show the same trend of X chromosome enrichment and depletion. Combined with the observation that highly sex-biased genes are primarily expressed in the gonad, differential distribution of sex-biased genes reflects differences in evolutionary pressures linked to tissue-specific regulation of X chromosome transcription. Our data also indicate that X dosage imbalance between males (XO) and females (XX) is influential in shaping both expression and gene content of the X chromosome. Predicted upregulation of the single male X to match autosomal transcription (Ohno's hypothesis) is supported by our observation that overall transcript levels from the X and autosomes are similar for highly expressed genes. However, comparison of differentially located one-to-one orthologs between C. elegans and P. pacificus indicates lower expression of X-linked orthologs, arguing against X upregulation. These contradicting observations may be reconciled if X upregulation is not a global mechanism but instead acts locally on a subset of tissues and X-linked genes that are dosage sensitive.