HR Excellence in Science
Date: 03.06.2021

Extraordinary results of Jiří Macas' team praised by GACR

The Czech Science Foundation (GACR) appreciated the extraordinary scientific results targeting plant centromeres, obtained by the Laboratory of Molecular Cytogenetics under the leadership of Jiří Macas.

The Laboratory of Molecular Cytogenetics at the Institute of Molecular Plant Biology - Biological Centre CAS, lead by RNDr. Jiří Macas, PhD. has been a long time investigating the plant genome. A significant part of this research is focused on the so-called centromeres, the areas of chromosomes that ensure an even distribution of genetic information during the cell division. As they usually possess a great portion of repetitive sequences, it is not an easy task to read their structure and genetic information correctly. Therefore, the success of Jiří Macas' team has been recently appreciated by the Grant Agency of the Czech Republic.
The awarded research was part of the grant 17-09750S "Utilizing new models and technologies to elucidate centromere determination in plants" (2017-2021), whose results according to GACR "contribute to expand the current state of knowledge and significantly influence the development of the field, not only in the Czech environment, but also in the international context.” During their research, the scientists not only helped to read the pea genome by using a combination of biochemical methods and newly developed computational tools developed in their lab to elucidate sequence composition of centromeres. They also discovered a different arrangement of centromeres in the parasitic plant Cuscuta europaea, other than it was known from other plants. Their research also classified all types of centromeres discovered in plants, revealing their function and possible evolutionary development.


Picture: Fluorescence image of different types of plant centromeres. Blue - DNA, green - dividing fibers (tubulin) or special "attachment" proteins (CENH3), red - "attachment" proteins. Taken from Schubert et al., 2020.



Oliveira L., Neumann P., Jang T., Klemme S., Schubert V., Koblížková A., Houben A., Macas J. (2020) Mitotic spindle attachment to the holocentric chromosomes of Cuscuta europaea does not correlate with the distribution of CENH3 chromatin. Frontiers in plant science 10: 1799 DOI: 10.3389/fpls.2019.01799

Jonathan Kreplak et al. 2019. A reference genome for pea provides insight into legume genome evolution. Nature Genetics 51: 1411-1422; doi: 10.1038/s41588-019-0480-1

Schubert V., Neumann P., Marques A., Heckmann S., Macas J., Pedrosa-Harand A., Schubert I., Jang T., Houben A. (2020) Super-Resolution Microscopy Reveals Diversity of Plant Centromere Architecture International Journal of Molecular Sciences 21 (10): 3488. DOI: 10.3390/ijms21103488

Avila Robledillo L., Neumann P., Koblížková A., Novák P., Vrbová I., Macas J. (2020) Extraordinary sequence diversity and promiscuity of centromeric satellites in the legume tribe Fabeae Molecular biology and evolution 37 : 2341-2356.
DOI: 10.1093/molbev/msaa090

Neumann P., Oliveira L., Cizkova J., Jang T.-S., Klemme S., Novak P., Stelmach K., Koblizkova A., Dolezel J., Macas J. (2021) – Impact of parasitic lifestyle and different types of centromere organization on chromosome and genome evolution in the plant genus Cuscuta. New Phytol. 229:2365-2377. DOI: 10.1111/nph.17003




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