Nondisjunction in favor of a chromosome: The mechanism of rye B chromosome drive during pollen mitosis

Ali M. Banaei-Moghaddam, Veit Schubert, Katrin Kumke, Oda Wei, Sonja Klemme, Kiyotaka Nagaki, Jiří Macas, Mónica González-Sánchez, Victoria Heredia, Diana Gómez-Revilla, Miriam González-García, Juan M. Vega, Maria J. Puertas, Andreas Houben

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


B chromosomes (Bs) are supernumerary components of the genome and do not confer any advantages on the organisms that harbor them. The maintenance of Bs in natural populations is possible by their transmission at higher than Mendelian frequencies. Although drive is the key for understanding B chromosomes, the mechanism is largely unknown. We provide direct insights into the cellular mechanism of B chromosome drive in the male gametophyte of rye (Secale cereale). We found that nondisjunction of Bs is accompanied by centromere activity and is likely caused by extended cohesion of the B sister chromatids. The B centromere originated from an A centromere, which accumulated B-specific repeats and rearrangements. Because of unequal spindle formation at the first pollen mitosis, nondisjoined B chromatids preferentially become located toward the generative pole. The failure to resolve pericentromeric cohesion is under the control of the B-specific nondisjunction control region. Hence, a combination of nondisjunction and unequal spindle formation at first pollen mitosis results in the accumulation of Bs in the generative nucleus and therefore ensures their transmission at a higher than expected rate to the next generation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4124-4134
Number of pages11
JournalPlant Cell
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Plant Science
  • Cell Biology


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