Genetic and functional analysis of DD44, a sex-linked gene from the dioecious plant Silene latifolia, provides clues to early events in sex chromosome evolution
Silene latifolia is a dioecious plant with heteromorphic sex chromosomes. The sex chromosomes of S. latifolia provide an opportunity to study the early events in sex chromosome evolution because of their relatively recent emergence. In this article, we present the genetic and physical mapping, expression analysis, and molecular evolutionary analysis of a sex-linked gene from S. latifolia, DD44 (Differential Display 44). DD44 is homologous to the oligomycin sensitivity-conferring protein, an essential component of the mitochondrial ATP synthase, and is ubiquitously expressed in both sexes. We have been able to genetically map DD44 to a region of the Y chromosome that is genetically linked to the carpel-suppressing locus. Although we have physically mapped DD44 to the distal end of the long arm of the X chromosome using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH), DD44 maps to the opposite arm of the Y chromosome as determined by our genetic map. These data suggest that chromosomal rearrangements have occurred on the Y chromosome, which may have contributed to the genetic isolation of the Y chromosome. We discuss the implications of these results with respect to the structural and functional evolution of the S. latifolia Y chromosome.