Analysis and evolution of two functional Y-linked loci in a plant sex chromosome system.
Atanassov I., Delichère C., Filatov DA., Charlesworth D., Negrutiu I., Monéger F.
White campion (Silene latifolia) is one of the few examples of plants with separate sexes and with X and Y sex chromosomes. The presence or absence of the Y chromosome determines which type of reproductive organs--male or female--will develop. Recently, we characterized the first active gene located on a plant Y chromosome, SlY1, and its X-linked homolog, SlX1. These genes encode WD-repeat proteins likely to be involved in cell proliferation. Here, we report the characterization of a novel Y-linked gene, SlY4, which also has a homolog on the X chromosome, SlX4. Both SlY4 and SlX4 potentially encode fructose-2,6-bisphosphatases. A comparative molecular analysis of the two sex-linked loci (SlY1/SlX1 and SlY4/SlX4) suggests selective constraint on both X- and Y-linked genes and thus that both X- and Y-linked copies are functional. Divergence between SlY4 and SlX4 is much greater than that between the SlY1 and SlX1 genes. These results suggest that, as for human XY-linked genes, the sex-linked plant loci ceased recombining at different times and reveal distinct events in the evolutionary history of the sex chromosomes.