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Origin of species: Protein imbalances doom hybrids
Date:11/19/2013

molecular complex, which binds to the centromeric regions of chromosomes, i.e., at the site of the typical constriction found in paired sister chromosomes prior to cell division, and play an important role in chromosome segregation later in cell division. The problem for the hybrids lies in the fact that, although both D. melanogaster and D. simulans synthesize HMR and LHR proteins, they make these gene products in very different amounts.

Thus D. melanogaster makes far more HMR than D. simulans, while the latter produces LHR in much higher concentrations than D. melanogaster. Nevertheless, the HMR and LHR proteins retain the ability to interact with each other, irrespective of their origin. As a result, in hybrid cells, HMR-LHR complexes are formed in much larger amounts than in the cells of the parental species. Moreover, this increase cannot be accommodated by the number of centromeric binding sites available in the hybrid. The resulting discrepancy between the amounts of complex and centromeric binding sites leads to binding of the complex all over the genome. It is this abnormal distribution of HMR-LHR complexes that is responsible for hybrid lethality.

These results show that it is the relative level of the proteins concerned, and not any differences in their amino acid sequences, that plays the crucial role here. It also encourages the LMU researchers to search further for species-specific differences in protein levels with the aid of quantitative proteomics. "In addition to the proteins HMR and LHR that we have focused on, other factors have been identified which are involved in mediating reproductive isolation between species. "In future experiments, we intend to look at these proteins in more detail, and will analyze their functions in true species and their hybrids," says Imhof.


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Contact: Luise Dirscherl
dirscherl@lmu.de
0049-892-180-2706
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universitt Mnchen
Source:Eurekalert

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