Interplay between synaptonemal complex, homologous recombination, and centromeres during mammalian meiosis.
ABSTRACT: The intimate synapsis of homologous chromosome pairs (homologs) by synaptonemal complexes (SCs) is an essential feature of meiosis. In many organisms, synapsis and homologous recombination are interdependent: recombination promotes SC formation and SCs are required for crossing-over. Moreover, several studies indicate that initiation of SC assembly occurs at sites where crossovers will subsequently form. However, recent analyses in budding yeast and fruit fly imply a special role for centromeres in the initiation of SC formation. In addition, in budding yeast, persistent SC-dependent centromere-association facilitates the disjunction of chromosomes that have failed to become connected by crossovers. Here, we examine the interplay between SCs, recombination, and centromeres in a mammal. In mouse spermatocytes, centromeres do not serve as SC initiation sites and are invariably the last regions to synapse. However, centromeres are refractory to de-synapsis during diplonema and remain associated by short SC fragments. Since SC-dependent centromere association is lost before diakinesis, a direct role in homolog segregation seems unlikely. However, post-SC disassembly, we find evidence of inter-centromeric connections that could play a more direct role in promoting homolog biorientation and disjunction. A second class of persistent SC fragments is shown to be crossover-dependent. Super-resolution structured-illumination microscopy (SIM) reveals that these structures initially connect separate homolog axes and progressively diminish as chiasmata form. Thus, DNA crossing-over (which occurs during pachynema) and axis remodeling appear to be temporally distinct aspects of chiasma formation. SIM analysis of the synapsis and crossover-defective mutant Sycp1?/? implies that SCs prevent unregulated fusion of homolog axes. We propose that SC fragments retained during diplonema stabilize nascent bivalents and help orchestrate local chromosome reorganization that promotes centromere and chiasma function.
Project description:Cohesion between sister chromatids is mediated by cohesin and is essential for proper meiotic segregation of both sister chromatids and homologs. solo encodes a Drosophila meiosis-specific cohesion protein with no apparent sequence homology to cohesins that is required in male meiosis for centromere cohesion, proper orientation of sister centromeres and centromere enrichment of the cohesin subunit SMC1. In this study, we show that solo is involved in multiple aspects of meiosis in female Drosophila. Null mutations in solo caused the following phenotypes: 1) high frequencies of homolog and sister chromatid nondisjunction (NDJ) and sharply reduced frequencies of homolog exchange; 2) reduced transmission of a ring-X chromosome, an indicator of elevated frequencies of sister chromatid exchange (SCE); 3) premature loss of centromere pairing and cohesion during prophase I, as indicated by elevated foci counts of the centromere protein CID; 4) instability of the lateral elements (LE)s and central regions of synaptonemal complexes (SCs), as indicated by fragmented and spotty staining of the chromosome core/LE component SMC1 and the transverse filament protein C(3)G, respectively, at all stages of pachytene. SOLO and SMC1 are both enriched on centromeres throughout prophase I, co-align along the lateral elements of SCs and reciprocally co-immunoprecipitate from ovarian protein extracts. Our studies demonstrate that SOLO is closely associated with meiotic cohesin and required both for enrichment of cohesin on centromeres and stable assembly of cohesin into chromosome cores. These events underlie and are required for stable cohesion of centromeres, synapsis of homologous chromosomes, and a recombination mechanism that suppresses SCE to preferentially generate homolog crossovers (homolog bias). We propose that SOLO is a subunit of a specialized meiotic cohesin complex that mediates both centromeric and axial arm cohesion and promotes homolog bias as a component of chromosome cores.
Project description:In meiosis I, homologous chromosomes segregate away from each other-the first of two rounds of chromosome segregation that allow the formation of haploid gametes. In prophase I, homologous partners become joined along their length by the synaptonemal complex (SC) and crossovers form between the homologs to generate links called chiasmata. The chiasmata allow the homologs to act as a single unit, called a bivalent, as the chromosomes attach to the microtubules that will ultimately pull them away from each other at anaphase I. Recent studies, in several organisms, have shown that when the SC disassembles at the end of prophase, residual SC proteins remain at the homologous centromeres providing an additional link between the homologs. In budding yeast, this centromere pairing is correlated with improved segregation of the paired partners in anaphase. However, the causal relationship of prophase centromere pairing and subsequent disjunction in anaphase has been difficult to demonstrate as has been the relationship between SC assembly and the assembly of the centromere pairing apparatus. Here, a series of in-frame deletion mutants of the SC component Zip1 were used to address these questions. The identification of a separation-of-function allele that disrupts centromere pairing, but not SC assembly, has made it possible to demonstrate that centromere pairing and SC assembly have mechanistically distinct features and that the centromere pairing function of Zip1 drives disjunction of the paired partners in anaphase I.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Homolog pairing, synaptonemal complex (SC) assembly (chromosome synapsis), and crossover recombination are essential for successful meiotic chromosome segregation. A distinguishing feature of meiosis in budding yeast and mammals is that synapsis between homologs depends upon recombination; however, the molecular basis for this contingency is not understood.<h4>Results</h4>We show here that the yeast proline isomerase Fpr3 and the small ubiquitin-like modifier (SUMO) ligase Zip3 ensure that SC assembly is dependent upon recombination initiation. When Fpr3 and Zip3 are absent, synapsis occurs even in a mutant that fails to initiate recombination and homolog pairing. Fpr3 and Zip3 appear to specifically prevent synapsis initiation at centromeric sites. This result is consistent with previous observations of SC proteins localizing to centromeres prior to and independent of meiotic recombination initiation. Finally, we show that without Fpr3 and Zip3 activities, the synapsis initiation components Zip2 and Zip4 are dispensable for chromosome synapsis.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Fpr3 and Zip3 represent parallel pathways that function in a checkpoint-like manner to ensure that chromosome synapsis is contingent on the initiation of recombination. We propose that, during normal meiosis, Zip2 and Zip4 act downstream of recombination signals to oppose Fpr3- and Zip3-mediated inhibitions to initiating SC assembly at centromeres. These data suggest a role for centromeres in coordinating major meiotic chromosomal events and draw an interesting parallel between yeast centromeres and C. elegans pairing centers.
Project description:HEI10 was first described in human as a RING domain-containing protein that regulates cell cycle and cell invasion. Mice HEI10(mei4) mutant displays no obvious defect other than meiotic failure from an absence of chiasmata. In this study, we characterize rice HEI10 by map-based cloning and explore its function during meiotic recombination. In the rice hei10 mutant, chiasma frequency is markedly reduced, and those remaining chiasmata exhibit a random distribution among cells, suggesting possible involvement of HEI10 in the formation of interference-sensitive crossovers (COs). However, mutation of HEI10 does not affect early recombination events and synaptonemal complex (SC) formation. HEI10 protein displays a highly dynamic localization on the meiotic chromosomes. It initially appears as distinct foci and co-localizes with MER3. Thereafter, HEI10 signals elongate along the chromosomes and finally restrict to prominent foci that specially localize to chiasma sites. The linear HEI10 signals always localize on ZEP1 signals, indicating that HEI10 extends along the chromosome in the wake of synapsis. Together our results suggest that HEI10 is the homolog of budding yeast Zip3 and Caenorhabditis elegans ZHP-3, and may specifically promote class I CO formation through modification of various meiotic components.
Project description:MSH4, a meiosis-specific member of the MutS-homolog family of genes, is required for normal levels of recombination and fertility in budding yeast, mouse, and Caenorhabditis elegans. In this paper, we report the identification and characterization of the Arabidopsis homolog of MSH4 (AtMSH4). We demonstrate that AtMSH4 expression can only be detected in floral tissues, consistent with a role in reproduction. Immunofluorescence studies indicate that its expression is limited to early meiotic prophase I, preceding the synapsis of homologous chromosomes. A T-DNA insertional mutant (Atmsh4) exhibited normal vegetative growth but a severe reduction in fertility, consistent with a meiotic defect; this was confirmed by cytological analysis of meiosis. RNAi-induced down-regulation of the MSH4 gene resulted in a similar fertility and meiotic phenotype. We demonstrate that prophase I chromosome synapsis is delayed and may be incomplete in Atmsh4, and metaphase I chiasma frequency is greatly reduced to approximately 15% of wild type, leading to univalence and nondisjunction. We show that these residual chiasmata are randomly distributed among cells and chromosomes. These features of chiasma frequency and distribution in Atmsh4 show close parallels to MSH4-independent crossovers in budding yeast that have been proposed to originate by a separate pathway. Furthermore, the characteristics of the MSH4-independent chiasmata in the Atmsh4 mutant closely parallel those of second-pathway crossovers that have been postulated from Arabidopsis crossover analysis and mathematical modeling. Taken together, this evidence strongly indicates that Arabidopsis possesses two crossover pathways.
Project description:Synthetic genetic array (SGA) analysis automates yeast genetics, enabling high-throughput construction of ordered arrays of double mutants. Quantitative colony sizes derived from SGA analysis can be used to measure cellular fitness and score for genetic interactions, such as synthetic lethality. Here we show that SGA colony sizes also can be used to obtain global maps of meiotic recombination because recombination frequency affects double-mutant formation for gene pairs located on the same chromosome and therefore influences the size of the resultant double-mutant colony. We obtained quantitative colony size data for ~1.2 million double mutants located on the same chromosome and constructed a genome-scale genetic linkage map at ~5 kb resolution. We found that our linkage map is reproducible and consistent with previous global studies of meiotic recombination. In particular, we confirmed that the total number of crossovers per chromosome tends to follow a simple linear model that depends on chromosome size. In addition, we observed a previously unappreciated relationship between the size of linkage regions surrounding each centromere and chromosome size, suggesting that crossovers tend to occur farther away from the centromere on larger chromosomes. The pericentric regions of larger chromosomes also appeared to load larger clusters of meiotic cohesin Rec8, and acquire fewer Spo11-catalyzed DNA double-strand breaks. Given that crossovers too near or too far from centromeres are detrimental to homolog disjunction and increase the incidence of aneuploidy, our data suggest that chromosome size may have a direct role in regulating the fidelity of chromosome segregation during meiosis.
Project description:Although recombination is essential to the successful completion of human meiosis, it remains unclear how tightly the process is regulated and over what scale. To assess the nature and stringency of constraints on human recombination, we examined crossover patterns in transmissions to viable, non-trisomic offspring, using dense genotyping data collected in a large set of pedigrees. Our analysis supports a requirement for one chiasma per chromosome rather than per arm to ensure proper disjunction, with additional chiasmata occurring in proportion to physical length. The requirement is not absolute, however, as chromosome 21 seems to be frequently transmitted properly in the absence of a chiasma in females, a finding that raises the possibility of a back-up mechanism aiding in its correct segregation. We also found a set of double crossovers in surprisingly close proximity, as expected from a second pathway that is not subject to crossover interference. These findings point to multiple mechanisms that shape the distribution of crossovers, influencing proper disjunction in humans.
Project description:Reciprocal crossing over and independent assortment of chromosomes during meiosis generate most of the genetic variation in sexually reproducing organisms. In barley, crossovers are confined primarily to distal regions of the chromosomes, which means that a substantial proportion of the genes of this crop rarely, if ever, engage in recombination events. There is potentially much to be gained by redistributing crossovers to more proximal regions, but our ability to achieve this is dependent upon a far better understanding of meiosis in this species. This study explores the meiotic process by describing with unprecedented resolution the early behaviour of chromosomal domains, the progression of synapsis and the structure of the synaptonemal complex (SC). Using a combination of molecular cytogenetics and advanced fluorescence imaging, we show for the first time in this species that non-homologous centromeres are coupled prior to synapsis. We demonstrate that at early meiotic prophase the loading of the SC-associated structural protein ASY1, the cluster of telomeres, and distal synaptic initiation sites occupy the same polarised region of the nucleus. Through the use of advanced 3D image analysis, we show that synapsis is driven predominantly from the telomeres, and that new synaptic initiation sites arise during zygotene. In addition, we identified two different SC configurations through the use of super-resolution 3D structured illumination microscopy (3D-SIM).
Project description:ZMM proteins have been defined in budding yeast as factors that are collectively involved in the formation of interfering crossovers (COs) and synaptonemal complexes (SCs), and they are a hallmark of the predominant meiotic recombination pathway of most organisms. In addition to this so-called class I CO pathway, a minority of crossovers are formed by a class II pathway, which involves the Mus81-Mms4 endonuclease complex. This is the only CO pathway in the SC-less meiosis of the fission yeast. ZMM proteins (including SC components) were always found to be co-occurring and hence have been regarded as functionally linked. Like the fission yeast, the protist Tetrahymena thermophila does not possess a SC, and its COs are dependent on Mus81-Mms4. Here we show that the ZMM proteins Msh4 and Msh5 are required for normal chiasma formation, and we propose that they have a pro-CO function outside a canonical class I pathway in Tetrahymena. Thus, the two-pathway model is not tenable as a general rule.
Project description:Faithful chromosome segregation during meiosis I depends upon the formation of connections between homologous chromosomes. Crossovers between homologs connect the partners, allowing them to attach to the meiotic spindle as a unit, such that they migrate away from one another at anaphase I. Homologous partners also become connected by pairing of their centromeres in meiotic prophase. This centromere pairing can promote proper segregation at anaphase I of partners that have failed to become joined by a crossover. Centromere pairing is mediated by synaptonemal complex (SC) proteins that persist at the centromere when the SC disassembles. Here, using mouse spermatocyte and yeast model systems, we tested the role of shugoshin in promoting meiotic centromere pairing by protecting centromeric synaptonemal components from disassembly. The results show that shugoshin protects the centromeric SC in meiotic prophase and, in anaphase, promotes the proper segregation of partner chromosomes that are not linked by a crossover.