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EMBO J. 1997 Jan 2; 16(1): 193–202.
PMCID: PMC1169626

Meiotic nuclear reorganization: switching the position of centromeres and telomeres in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.


In fission yeast meiotic prophase, telomeres are clustered near the spindle pole body (SPB; a centrosome-equivalent structure in fungi) and take the leading position in chromosome movement, while centromeres are separated from the SPB. This telomere position contrasts with mitotic nuclear organization, in which centromeres remain clustered near the SPB and lead chromosome movement. Thus, nuclear reorganization switching the position of centromeres and telomeres must take place upon entering meiosis. In this report, we analyze the nuclear location of centromeres and telomeres in genetically well-characterized meiotic mutant strains. An intermediate structure for telomere-centromere switching was observed in haploid cells induced to undergo meiosis by synthetic mating pheromone; fluorescence in situ hybridization revealed that in these cells, both telomeres and centromeres were clustered near the SPB. Further analyses in a series of mutants showed that telomere-centromere switching takes place in two steps; first, association of telomeres with the SPB and, second, dissociation of centromeres from the SPB. The first step can take place in the haploid state in response to mating pheromone, but the second step does not take place in haploid cells and probably depends on conjugation-related events. In addition, a linear minichromosome was also co-localized with authentic telomeres instead of centromeres, suggesting that telomere clustering plays a role in organizing chromosomes within a meiotic prophase nucleus.

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Selected References

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