Differential gene expression in yellow-necked mice Apodemus flavicollis (Rodentia, Mammalia) with and without B chromosomes
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Most B chromosomes are heavily heterochromatic, promoting the general idea that they are genetically inert. The B chromosomes of Apodemus flavicollis are euchromatic and show a high degree of homology with the chromosomes. The euchromatic nature of chromosomes in A. flavicollis suggests that they may carry active genes and have transcriptional activity. We applied the differential display reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (DD RT-PCR) in order to analyze and compare gene expression in animals possessing chromosomes and animals without B chromosomes. After a second and third round of amplification, three cDNA fragments were differentially expressed in +B mice compared with 0B animals. These cDNAs were Chaperonin containing TCP-1, subunit 6b (zeta) (CCT6B), Fragile histidine triad gene (FHIT) and hypothetical gene XP transcript. The differential expression pattern was confirmed by Real Time RT-PCR. We suggest that altered expression of these important genes is due to the presence of B chromosomes. In elevating the expression of these genes, B chromosomes of A. flavicollis affect some of the crucial processes in the cell. The significance of these effects and the nature of B chromosomes of A. flavicollis are discussed in the context of the data presented.