© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature. Despite their essential role in the process of chromosome segregation in eukaryotes, kinetochore proteins are highly diverse across species, being lost, duplicated, created, or diversified during evolution. Based on comparative genomics, the duplication of the inner kinetochore proteins CenH3 and Cenp-C, which are interdependent in their roles of establishing centromere identity and function, can be said to be rare in animals. Surprisingly, the Drosophila CenH3 homolog Cid underwent four independent duplication events during evolution. Particularly interesting are the highly diverged Cid1 and Cid5 paralogs of the Drosophila subgenus, which are probably present in over one thousand species. Given that CenH3 and Cenp-C likely co-evolve as a functional unit, we investigated the molecular evolution of Cenp-C in species of Drosophila. We report yet another Cid duplication (leading to Cid6) within the Drosophila subgenus and show that not only Cid, but also Cenp-C is duplicated in the entire subgenus. The Cenp-C paralogs, which we named Cenp-C1 and Cenp-C2, are highly divergent. Both Cenp-C1 and Cenp-C2 retain key motifs involved in centromere localization and function, while some functional motifs are conserved in an alternate manner between the paralogs. Interestingly, both Cid5 and Cenp-C2 are male germline-biased and evolved adaptively. However, it is currently unclear if the paralogs subfunctionalized or if the new copies acquired a new function. Our findings point towards a specific inner kinetochore composition in a specific context (i.e., spermatogenesis), which could prove valuable for the understanding of how the extensive kinetochore diversity is related to essential cellular functions.
- Gene duplication