Shaping meiotic prophase chromosomes: cohesins and synaptonemal complex proteins.
ABSTRACT Recent progress in elucidating the function of synaptonemal complex (SC) proteins and of cohesins in meiocytes made possible, in particular, through the analysis of mice deficient in SC or cohesin proteins has significantly enriched our understanding of how meiotic chromosome architecture is determined. Cohesins and the SC proteins act together in generating the characteristic axis-loop structure of meiotic chromosomes, their pairing into bivalents, their ability to recombine, and to be properly segregated. This minireview attempts to summarize the current knowledge with a focus on higher eukaryotic systems and to ask questions that ought to be addressed in the future.
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ABSTRACT: Chromosome segregation errors in human oocytes are the leading cause of birth defects, and the risk of aneuploid pregnancy increases dramatically as women age. Accurate segregation demands that sister chromatid cohesion remain intact for decades in human oocytes, and gradual loss of the original cohesive linkages established in fetal oocytes is proposed to be a major cause of age-dependent segregation errors. Here we demonstrate that maintenance of meiotic cohesion in Drosophila oocytes during prophase I requires an active rejuvenation program, and provide mechanistic insight into the molecular events that underlie rejuvenation. Gal4/UAS inducible knockdown of the cohesion establishment factor Eco after meiotic S phase, but before oocyte maturation, causes premature loss of meiotic cohesion, resulting in destabilization of chiasmata and subsequent missegregation of recombinant homologs. Reduction of individual cohesin subunits or the cohesin loader Nipped B during prophase I leads to similar defects. These data indicate that loading of newly synthesized replacement cohesin rings by Nipped B and establishment of new cohesive linkages by the acetyltransferase Eco must occur during prophase I to maintain cohesion in oocytes. Moreover, we show that rejuvenation of meiotic cohesion does not depend on the programmed induction of meiotic double strand breaks that occurs during early prophase I, and is therefore mechanistically distinct from the DNA damage cohesion re-establishment pathway identified in G2 vegetative yeast cells. Our work provides the first evidence that new cohesive linkages are established in Drosophila oocytes after meiotic S phase, and that these are required for accurate chromosome segregation. If such a pathway also operates in human oocytes, meiotic cohesion defects may become pronounced in a woman's thirties, not because the original cohesive linkages finally give out, but because the rejuvenation program can no longer supply new cohesive linkages at the same rate at which they are lost.PLoS Genetics 09/2014; 10(9):e1004607. DOI:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004607 · 8.17 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Meiotic and mitotic chromosomes have a complex of differences. (1) At the early prophase I of meiosis, chromosomes acquire protein axial elements (AEs) that were absent in mitosis; in addition to somatic cohesins, AEs contain the meiosisspecific cohesins REC8, SMC1β, and STAG3. (2) At the middle prophase I, protein lateral elements (LEs) of synaptonemal complexes (SCs) are formed on the basis of AEs. The LE proteins are not conserved, but in Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Arabidopsis thaliana they contain functional domains with conserved secondary structures. Among the almost 679 thousand proteins of prim itive eukaryotes that we studied by bioinformatics methods, in green and brown algae, some lower fungi, and Coelenterata, we revealed proteins or functional domains similar to SC proteins. (3) During the pachytene and diplotene stages of meiosis, chromosomes of spermatocytes and mother pollen cells acquire a general structure resembling the structure of amphibian and avian lampbrush chromosomes in miniature. Lateral chromatin loops with sizes of 90, 160, and even over 480 Kb were observed in human spermatocytes during the diplotene stage. In combination, all these observations confirm the considerable conservation of the scheme of molecular and ultrastructural organization of meiotic chromosomes in a large variety of eukaryotic organisms.
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ABSTRACT: In meiosis, cohesin is required for sister chromatid cohesion, as well as meiotic chromosome axis assembly and recombination. However, mechanisms underlying the multifunctional nature of cohesin remain elusive. Here, we show that fission yeast casein kinase 1 (CK1) plays a crucial role in assembling the meiotic chromosome axis (so-called linear element: LinE) and promoting recombination. An in vitro phosphorylation screening assay identified meiotic cohesin subunit Rec11/SA3 as an excellent substrate of CK1. The phosphorylation of Rec11 by CK1 mediates the interaction with the Rec10/Red1/SCP2 axis component, a key step in meiotic chromosome axis assembly, and is dispensable for sister chromatid cohesion. Crucially, the expression of Rec11-Rec10 fusion protein nearly completely bypasses the requirement for CK1 or cohesin phosphorylation for LinE assembly and recombination. This study uncovers a central mechanism of the cohesin-dependent assembly of the meiotic chromosome axis and recombination apparatus that acts independently of sister chromatid cohesion. Copyright © 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.Developmental Cell 01/2015; 32(2). DOI:10.1016/j.devcel.2014.11.033 · 10.37 Impact Factor