CCMB : Y chromosome regulates genes on other chromosomes

Insight Online News

Hyderabad, Sep 17 : Studies carried out at CSIR-Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad, found that Y chromosome is known to be the male determining chromosome, whsich would regulates genes on other Chromosomes involved in male reproduction.

It is a smaller chromosome in comparison to the X, its partner. And it was not known to have any function except sex determination, CCMB said in release here on Friday.

The DNA sequences on Y chromosome are by and large present in multiple copies and very few of them code for proteins.

They were earlier thought to function as packing material for the few protein coding genes on the Y chromosome.

Given no obvious function, most of the DNA of the Y chromosome was considered junk.

The studies done at CSIR-Centre for CCMB by a team headed by Prof. Rachel Jesudasan, show striking novel regulatory functions of Y chromosome DNA and these studies have been recently published in BMC Biology.

They have shown a bunch of DNA repeats on mouse Y chromosomes, which regulate genes expressed from other chromosomes in testis, specifically those required in reproduction.

They also showed that these repeats are species-specific and they are not present in other species.

These repeats give rise to a class of small RNAs called piRNAs. This is the first report of piRNAs from Y chromosomes.

“Our earlier studies on human Y chromosome had shown sex and species-specific repeats on the Y chromosome regulate a reproductively important protein-coding RNA transcribed from chromosome number 1, the release said.

Along with this study, these are the first reports of interaction between the Y chromosome and other chromosomes. Thus, consolidating the two studies, we see a more pervasive regulation of genes associated with reproduction by Y chromosome”, Prof Jesudasan said.

“As the species evolve, these repeats also co-evolve and gradually are no longer able to regulate reproduction of the species. Thus, it appears that these repeats are at the fulcrum of species identity and evolution”, she added.

Prof. Jesudasan currently holds positions as Advisor (Research) at the Department Genetics, Osmania University, Hyderabad and as an Emeritus Scientist (KSCSTE) at the Inter University Centre for Genomics & Gene Technology, Karyavattom Campus, University of Kerala, Trivandrum.


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