Uniparental silencing of 5S rRNA genes in plant allopolyploids - insights from Cardamine (Brassicaceae)

Mandáková T, Krumpolcová A, Matyášek R, Volkov R, Lysak MA, Kovařík A

Plant J:


While the phenomenon of uniparental silencing of 35S rDNA in interspecific hybrids and allopolyploids is well documented, there is a notable absence of information regarding whether such silencing extends to the 5S RNA component of ribosomes. To address this gap in knowledge, we analyzed the 5S and 35S rDNA expression in Cardamine (Brassicaceae) allopolyploids, namely C. × insueta (2n = 3x = 24, genome composition RRA), C. flexuosa (2n = 4x = 32, AAHH), and C. scutata (2n = 4x = 32, PPAA) which share a common diploid ancestor (AA). We employed high-throughput sequencing of transcriptomes and genomes and phylogenetic analyses of 5S rRNA variants. The genomic organization of rDNA was further scrutinized through clustering and fluorescence in situ hybridization. In the C. × insueta allotriploid, we observed uniparental dominant expression of 5S and 35S rDNA loci. In the C. flexuosa and C. scutata allotetraploids, the expression pattern differed, with the 35S rDNA being expressed from the A subgenome, whereas the 5S rDNA was expressed from the partner subgenome. Both C. flexuosa and C. scutata but not C. × insueta showed copy and locus number changes. We conclude that in stabilized allopolyploids, transcription of ribosomal RNA components occurs from different subgenomes. This phenomenon appears to result in the formation of chimeric ribosomes comprising rRNA molecules derived from distinct parental origins. We speculate that the interplay of epigenetic silencing and rDNA rearrangements introduces an additional layer of variation in multimolecule ribosomal complexes, potentially contributing to the evolutionary success of allopolyploids.