Concerted evolution of primate alpha satellite DNA. Evidence for an ancestral sequence shared by gorilla and human X chromosome alpha satellite.


Journal Article

To understand evolutionary events in the formation of higher-order repeat units in alpha satellite DNA, we have examined gorilla sequences homologous to human X chromosome alpha satellite. In humans, alpha satellite on the X chromosome is organized as a tandemly repeated, 2.0 x 10(3) base-pairs (bp) higher-order repeat unit, operationally defined by the restriction enzyme BamHI. Each higher-order repeat unit is composed of 12 tandem approximately 171 base-pair monomer units that have been classified into five distinct sequence homology groups. BamHI-digested gorilla genomic DNA hybridized with the cloned human 2 x 10(3) bp X alpha satellite repeat reveals three bands of sizes approximately 3.2 x 10(3), 2.7 x 10(3) and 2 x 10(3) bp. Multiple copies of all three repeat lengths have been isolated and mapped to the centromeric region of the gorilla X chromosome by fluorescence in situ hybridization. Long-range restriction mapping using pulsed-field gel electrophoresis shows that the 2.7 x 10(3) and 3.2 x 10(3) bp repeat arrays exist as separate but likely neighboring arrays on the gorilla X, each ranging in size from approximately 200 x 10(3) to 500 x 10(3) bp, considerably smaller than the approximately 2000 x 10(3) to 4000 x 10(3) bp array found on human X chromosomes. Nucleotide sequence analysis has revealed that monomers within all three gorilla repeat units can be classified into the same five sequence homology groups as monomers located within the higher-order repeat unit on the human X chromosome, suggesting that the formation of the five distinct monomer types predates the divergence of the lineages of contemporary humans and gorillas. The order of 12 monomers within the 2 x 10(3) and 2.7 x 10(3) bp repeat units from the gorilla X chromosome is identical with that of the 2 x 10(3) bp repeat unit from the human X chromosome, suggesting an ancestral linear arrangement and supporting hypotheses about events largely restricted to single chromosome types in the formation of alpha satellite higher-order repeat units.

Full Text

Cited Authors

  • Durfy, SJ; Willard, HF

Published Date

  • December 1990

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 216 / 3

Start / End Page

  • 555 - 566

PubMed ID

  • 2258932

Pubmed Central ID

  • 2258932

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1089-8638

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-2836

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/0022-2836(90)90383-w


  • eng