[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Author Summary
The formation of haploid gametes (sex cells, such as eggs and sperm) from diploid precursor cells involves two nuclear divisions but one round of chromosomal replication. In the unique first meiotic division, centromeres of sister chromatids remain connected and homologous chromosomes (homologs) segregate from each other. In most species proper homolog segregation requires that crossover recombination occur between homologs to impart tension between homologs as they move apart. A protein kinase (casein kinase 1) has long been known to regulate proper sister centromere connections by phosphorylating Rec8, a meiosis-specific sister chromatid cohesin subunit. We report here that in fission yeast this kinase has a second critical role—to mediate phosphorylation of another meiosis-specific cohesin subunit Rec11. Phosphorylation of Rec11 enhances loading of two meiosis-specific components of linear elements, which are related to the synaptonemal complex and help pair homologs. These linear element proteins lead to high-level DNA breakage and crossovers between homologs. Thus, casein kinase regulates two crucial but separate events in meiosis. The mammalian functional homolog of Rec11, called STAG3, is also phosphorylated during meiosis and appears to be required for fertility in human females. These observations suggest wide-spread conservation of the roles of casein kinase 1 and Rec11 in ensuring proper meiotic chromosome segregation and sexual reproduction.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Synchronous cultures are often indispensable for studying meiosis. Here we present an optimized protocol for induction of synchronous meiosis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe. Chemical inactivation of an ATP analog-sensitive form of the Pat1 kinase (pat1-as2) by adding the ATP analog 1-NM-PP1 in G1-arrested cells allows the induction of synchronous meiosis at optimal temperature (25°C). Importantly, this protocol eliminates detrimental effects of elevated temperature (34°C), which is required to inactivate the commonly used temperature-sensitive Pat1 kinase mutant (pat1-114). The addition of the mat-Pc gene to a mat1-M strain further improves chromosome segregation and spore viability. Thus, our protocol offers highly synchronous meiosis at optimal temperature, with most characteristics similar to those of wild-type meiosis. The synchronization protocol can be completed in 5 d (not including strain production, which may take as long as 2 or 3 months).
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crossovers formed by recombination between homologous chromosomes are important for proper homolog segregation during meiosis
and for generation of genetic diversity. Optimal molecular analysis of DNA intermediates of recombination requires synchronous
cultures. We previously described a mutant, pat1-as2, of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe that undergoes synchronous meiosis at 25°C when an ATP analog is added to the culture. Here, we compare recombination intermediates
in pat1-as2 at 25°C with those in the widely used pat1-114 temperature-sensitive mutant at 34°C, a temperature higher than optimal. DNA double-strand breaks at most hotspots are similarly
abundant in the two conditions but, remarkably, a few hotspots are distinctly deficient at 25°C. In both conditions, Holliday
junctions at DNA break hotspots form more frequently between sister chromatids than between homologs, but a novel species,
perhaps arising from invasion by only one end of broken DNA, is more readily observed at 25°C. Our results confirm the validity
of previous assays of recombination intermediates in S. pombe and provide new information on the mechanism of meiotic recombination.
Full-text · Article · Oct 2013 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Faithful chromosome segregation in meiosis is crucial to form viable, healthy offspring and in most species, it requires programmed
recombination between homologous chromosomes. In fission yeast, meiotic recombination is initiated by Rec12 (Spo11 homolog)
and generates single Holliday junction (HJ) intermediates, which are resolved by the Mus81–Eme1 endonuclease to generate crossovers
and thereby allow proper chromosome segregation. Although Mus81 contains the active site for HJ resolution, the regulation
of Mus81–Eme1 is unclear. In cells lacking Nse5–Nse6 of the Smc5–Smc6 genome stability complex, we observe persistent meiotic
recombination intermediates (DNA joint molecules) resembling HJs that accumulate in mus81Δ cells. Elimination of Rec12 nearly completely rescues the meiotic defects of nse6Δ and mus81Δ single mutants and partially rescues nse6Δ mus81Δ double mutants, indicating that these factors act after DNA double-strand break formation. Likewise, expression of the bacterial
HJ resolvase RusA partially rescues the defects of nse6Δ, mus81Δ and nse6Δ mus81Δ mitotic cells, as well as the meiotic defects of nse6Δ and mus81Δ cells. Partial rescue likely reflects the accumulation of structures other than HJs, such as hemicatenanes, and an additional
role for Nse5–Nse6 most prominent during mitotic growth. Our results indicate a regulatory role for the Smc5–Smc6 complex
in HJ resolution via Mus81–Eme1.
Full-text · Article · Aug 2012 · Nucleic Acids Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To study meiosis, synchronous cultures are often indispensable, especially for physical analyses of DNA and proteins. A temperature-sensitive allele of the Pat1 protein kinase (pat1-114) has been widely used to induce synchronous meiosis in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, but pat1-114-induced meiosis differs from wild-type meiosis, and some of these abnormalities might be due to higher temperature needed to inactivate the Pat1 kinase. Here, we report an ATP analog-sensitive allele of Pat1 [Pat1(L95A), designated pat1-as2] that can be used to generate synchronous meiotic cultures at physiological temperature. In pat1-as2 meiosis, chromosomes segregate with higher fidelity, and spore viability is higher than in pat1-114 meiosis, although recombination is lower by a factor of 2–3 in these mutants than in starvation-induced pat1+ meiosis. Addition of the mat-Pc gene improved chromosome segregation and spore viability to nearly the level of starvation-induced meiosis. We conclude that pat1-as2
mat-Pc cells offer synchronous meiosis with most tested properties similar to those of wild-type meiosis.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The unique segregation of homologs, rather than sister chromatids, at the first meiotic division requires the formation of crossovers (COs) between homologs by meiotic recombination in most species. Crossovers do not form at random along chromosomes. Rather, their formation is carefully controlled, both at the stage of formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that can initiate COs and during the repair of these DSBs. Here, we review control of DSB formation and two recently recognized controls of DSB repair: CO homeostasis and CO invariance. Crossover homeostasis maintains a constant number of COs per cell when the total number of DSBs in a cell is experimentally or stochastically reduced. Crossover invariance maintains a constant CO density (COs per kb of DNA) across much of the genome despite strong DSB hotspots in some intervals. These recently uncovered phenomena show that CO control is even more complex than previously suspected.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Trends in Genetics
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crossovers between meiotic homologs are crucial for their proper segregation, and crossover number and position are carefully controlled. Crossover homeostasis in budding yeast maintains crossovers at the expense of noncrossovers when double-strand DNA break (DSB) frequency is reduced. The mechanism of maintaining constant crossover levels in other species has been unknown. Here we investigate in fission yeast a different aspect of crossover control--the near invariance of crossover frequency per kb of DNA despite large variations in DSB intensity across the genome. Crossover invariance involves the choice of sister chromatid versus homolog for DSB repair. At strong DSB hotspots, intersister repair outnumbers interhomolog repair approximately 3:1, but our genetic and physical data indicate the converse in DSB-cold regions. This unanticipated mechanism of crossover control may operate in many species and explain, for example, the large excess of DSBs over crossovers and the repair of DSBs on unpaired chromosomes in diverse species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe has many biological characteristics that make it an ideal model organism for the study of meiosis. A nearly synchronous meiosis is one of the most important. Under certain environmental and genetic conditions, large cultures of S. pombe can be induced to undergo meiosis in a timely and predictable manner that allows for changes in the DNA to be observed and analyzed by gel electrophoresis. Initiation of meiotic recombination via programmed DNA double-strand breaks, the formation of joint molecule recombination intermediates, and the resolution of these intermediates into crossover DNA products can all be seen with consistent timing during the progression of a synchronous meiotic induction. The timing of recombination events, the genetic requirements for the formation and disappearance of recombination intermediates, and the analysis of the DNA structures of those intermediates allow a comparison of meiotic recombination in fission yeast with that in the only other species similarly studied, the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae.
Full-text · Article · Jan 2009 · Methods in Molecular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe Rec12 protein, the homolog of Spo11 in other organisms, initiates meiotic recombination by creating DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and becoming covalently linked to the DNA ends of the break. This protein-DNA linkage has previously been detected only in mutants such as rad50S in which break repair is impeded and DSBs accumulate. In the budding yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae, the DSB distribution in a rad50S mutant is markedly different from that in wild-type (RAD50) meiosis, and it was suggested that this might also be true for other organisms. Here, we show that we can detect Rec12-DNA linkages in Sc. pombe rad50(+) cells, which are proficient for DSB repair. In contrast to the results from Sa. cerevisiae, genome-wide microarray analysis of Rec12-DNA reveals indistinguishable meiotic DSB distributions in rad50(+) and rad50S strains of Sc. pombe. These results confirm our earlier findings describing the occurrence of widely spaced DSBs primarily in large intergenic regions of DNA and demonstrate the relevance and usefulness of fission yeast studies employing rad50S. We propose that the differential behavior of rad50S strains reflects a major difference in DSB regulation between the two species--specifically, the requirement for the Rad50-containing complex for DSB formation in budding yeast but not in fission yeast. Use of rad50S and related mutations may be a useful method for DSB analysis in other species.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: RecQ helicases are found in organisms as diverse as bacteria, fungi, and mammals. These proteins promote genome stability, and mutations affecting human RecQ proteins underlie premature aging and cancer predisposition syndromes, including Bloom syndrome, caused by mutations affecting the BLM protein. In this study we show that mutants lacking the Rqh1 protein of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, a RecQ and BLM homolog, have substantially reduced meiotic recombination, both gene conversions and crossovers. The relative proportion of gene conversions having associated crossovers is unchanged from that in wild type. In rqh1 mutants, meiotic DNA double-strand breaks are formed and disappear with wild-type frequency and kinetics, and spore viability is only moderately reduced. Genetic analyses and the wild-type frequency of both intersister and interhomolog joint molecules argue against these phenotypes being explained by an increase in intersister recombination at the expense of interhomolog recombination. We suggest that Rqh1 extends hybrid DNA and biases the recombination outcome toward crossing over. Our results contrast dramatically with those from the budding yeast ortholog, Sgs1, which has a meiotic antirecombination function that suppresses recombination events involving more than two DNA duplexes. These observations underscore the multiple recombination functions of RecQ homologs and emphasize that even conserved proteins can be adapted to play different roles in different organisms.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Author Summary
Homologous genetic recombination has two immediate benefits for cells—faithfully repairing broken DNA and aiding chromosome segregation during the first division of meiosis. Meiosis comprises a pair of special nuclear divisions that convert diploid somatic cells into haploid sex cells; in humans, meiosis leads to formation of eggs and sperm. By introducing double-strand breaks (DSBs) into their own DNA during meiosis, organisms promote recombination and hence production of viable sex cells. Although meiotic DSBs, and therefore recombination, occur throughout genomes, they arise at high frequency in certain genomic regions called hotspots, whose molecular bases are rarely understood. In this article we determine the locations of DSBs across the entire genome of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe by taking advantage of physical linkages between DNA and the protein Rec12 that makes DSBs. This analysis shows that most of the DSB hotspots are in exceptionally large intergenic (gene-free) regions spaced on average about 65 kb apart and making up only a small fraction of the genome. Between the hotspots we see very little evidence of DSBs. The concentration of hotspots in large intergenic regions suggests that DSBs may be determined by special nucleotide sequences buried in these regions. Determining these special sequences will allow predictions of hotspots and, perhaps, the proteins and features of genome architecture that lead to DSBs being made at these special sites.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crossing-over between homologous chromosomes facilitates their accurate segregation at the first division of meiosis. Current models for crossing-over invoke an intermediate in which homologs are connected by two crossed-strand structures called Holliday junctions. Such double Holliday junctions are a prominent intermediate in Saccharomyces cerevisiae meiosis, where they form preferentially between homologs rather than between sister chromatids. In sharp contrast, we find that single Holliday junctions are the predominant intermediate in Schizosaccharomyces pombe meiosis. Furthermore, these single Holliday junctions arise preferentially between sister chromatids rather than between homologs. We show that Mus81 is required for Holliday junction resolution, providing further in vivo evidence that the structure-specific endonuclease Mus81-Eme1 is a Holliday junction resolvase. To reconcile these observations, we present a unifying recombination model applicable for both meiosis and mitosis in which single Holliday junctions arise from single- or double-strand breaks, lesions postulated by previous models to initiate recombination.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In Schizosaccharomyces pombe, meiosis-specific DNA breaks that initiate recombination are observed at prominent but widely separated sites. We investigated the relationship between breakage and recombination at one of these sites, the mbs1 locus on chromosome I. Breaks corresponding to 10% of chromatids were mapped to four clusters spread over a 2.1-kb region. Gene conversion of markers within the clusters occurred in 11% of tetrads (3% of meiotic chromatids), making mbs1 a conversion hotspot when compared to other fission yeast markers. Approximately 80% of these conversions were associated with crossing over of flanking markers, suggesting a strong bias in meiotic break repair toward the generation of crossovers. This bias was observed in conversion events at three other loci, ade6, ade7, and ura1. A total of 50-80% of all crossovers seen in a 90-kb region flanking mbs1 occurred in a 4.8-kb interval containing the break sites. Thus, mbs1 is also a hotspot of crossing over, with breakage at mbs1 generating most of the crossovers in the 90-kb interval. Neither Rec12 (Spo11 ortholog) nor I-SceI-induced breakage at mbs1 was significantly associated with crossing over in an apparently break-free interval >25 kb away. Possible mechanisms for generating crossovers in such break-free intervals are discussed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Meiotic recombination is initiated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) made by Spo11 (Rec12 in fission yeast), which becomes covalently linked to the DSB ends. Like recombination events, DSBs occur at hotspots in the genome, but the genetic factors responsible for most hotspots have remained elusive. Here we describe in fission yeast the genome-wide distribution of meiosis-specific Rec12-DNA linkages, which closely parallel DSBs measured by conventional Southern blot hybridization. Prominent DSB hotspots are located ∼65 kb apart, separated by intervals with little or no detectable breakage. Most hotspots lie within exceptionally large intergenic regions. Thus, the chromosomal architecture responsible for hotspots in fission yeast is markedly different from that of budding yeast, in which DSB hotspots are much more closely spaced and, in many regions of the genome, occur at each promoter. Our analysis in fission yeast reveals a clearly identifiable chromosomal feature that can predict the majority of recombination hotspots across a whole genome and provides a basis for searching for the chromosomal features that dictate hotspots of meiotic recombination in other organisms, including humans.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: During meiosis DNA double-strand breaks initiate recombination in the distantly related budding and fission yeasts and perhaps in most eukaryotes. Repair of broken meiotic DNA is essential for formation of viable gametes. We report here distinct but overlapping sets of proteins in these yeasts required for formation and repair of double-strand breaks. Meiotic DNA breakage in Schizosaccharomyces pombe did not require Rad50 or Rad32, although the homologs Rad50 and Mre11 are required in Saccharomyces cerevisiae; these proteins are required for meiotic DNA break repair in both yeasts. DNA breakage required the S. pombe midmeiosis transcription factor Mei4, but the structurally unrelated midmeiosis transcription factor Ndt80 is not required for breakage in S. cerevisiae. Rhp51, Swi5, and Rad22 + Rti1 were required for full levels of DNA repair in S. pombe, as are the related S. cerevisiae proteins Rad51, Sae3, and Rad52. Dmc1 was not required for repair in S. pombe, but its homolog Dmc1 is required in the well-studied strain SK1 of S. cerevisiae. Additional proteins required in one yeast have no obvious homologs in the other yeast. The occurrence of conserved and nonconserved proteins indicates potential diversity in the mechanism of meiotic recombination and divergence of the machinery during the evolution of eukaryotes.