From The Polyploidy Portal

Organization of endoreduplicated chromosomes in the endosperm of Zea mays

Bauer MJ, Birchler JA.
Division of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211, USA.

The chromosomes of the maize endosperm proceed through an endoreduplication phase in later stages of development. Endoreduplication is a process in which the cell cycle continues DNA synthesis but does not proceed through cytokinesis. When this occurs, the normally triploid endosperm cell can reach ploidy levels greater than 200x in some lines of maize. In this work, we examined the structure of the endoreduplicated chromosomes. Previous cytological work has indicated that, although the DNA content per cell increases, the number of nucleoli and knobs remains the same. Using fluorescence in situ hybridization and slot blot techniques, we show that the highly repetitive heterochromatic areas both on the A and B chromosomes, as well as several actively transcribed genes, are endoreduplicated. This result suggests that the entire genome follows that same trend. Further evidence shows that the various chromatin strands stay associated throughout the length of the chromosomes after they have been replicated, and that the DNA at the centromeric and knob regions is more tightly associated than the other regions of the chromosomes. Interploidy crosses between diploid and tetraploid derivatives of the same inbred exhibit changes in the chromatin organization of centromeres and heterochromatic knobs. [1]

  1. Bauer MJ & Birchler JA (2006) Organization of endoreduplicated chromosomes in the endosperm of Zea mays L. Chromosoma 115: 383-94 PubMed
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