, Volume 56, Issue 5, pp 527-539

Evolution of Chromatin-Remodeling Complexes: Comparative Genomics Reveals the Ancient Origin of “Novel” Compensasome Genes

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Abstract

Dosage compensation in Drosophila is mediated by a complex, called compensasome, composed of at least five proteins and two noncoding RNAs. Genes encoding compensasome proteins have been collectively named male-specific lethals or msls. Recent work showed that three of the Drosophila msls (msl-3, mof, and mle) have an ancient origin. In this study, I describe likely orthologues of the two remaining msls, msl-1 and msl-2, in several invertebrates and vertebrates. The MSL-2 protein is the only one found in Drosophila and vertebrate genomes that contains both a RING finger and a peculiar type of CXC domain, related to the one present in Enhancer of Zeste proteins. MSL-1 also contains two evolutionarily conserved domains: a leucine zipper and a second characteristic region, described here for the first time, which I have called the PEHE domain. These two domains are present in the likely orthologues of MSL-1 as well as in other genes in several invertebrate and vertebrate species. Although it cannot be excluded that the compensasome complex is a recent evolutionary novelty, these results shows that all msls are found in mammals, suggesting that protein complexes related to the compensasome may be present in mammalian species. Metazoans that lack several of the msls, such as Caenorhabditis elegans, cannot contain compensasomes. The evolutionary relationships of the compensasome and the NuA4 complex, another chromatin-remodeling complex that contains related subunits, are discussed.