Remodelling of a homeobox gene cluster by multiple independent gene reunions in Drosophila

Carolus Chan, Suvini Jayasekera, Bryant Kao, Moisés Páramo, Marcin von Grotthuss, José M. Ranz
2015 Nature Communications  
Genome clustering of homeobox genes is often thought to reflect arrangements of tandem gene duplicates maintained by advantageous coordinated gene regulation. Here we analyse the chromosomal organization of the NK homeobox genes, presumed to be part of a single cluster in the Bilaterian ancestor, across 20 arthropods. We find that the ProtoNK cluster was extensively fragmented in some lineages, showing that NK clustering in Drosophila species does not reflect selectively maintained gene
more » ... ents. More importantly, the arrangement of NK and neighbouring genes across the phylogeny supports that, in two instances within the Drosophila genus, some cluster remnants became reunited via large-scale chromosomal rearrangements. Simulated scenarios of chromosome evolution indicate that these reunion events are unlikely unless the genome neighbourhoods harbouring the participating genes tend to colocalize in the nucleus. Our results underscore how mechanisms other than tandem gene duplication can result in paralogous gene clustering during genome evolution.
doi:10.1038/ncomms7509 pmid:25739651 fatcat:ctxhlb67tjenjdnqyquwktfnfq