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J Cell Biol. 2006 Aug 14;174(4):499-508. Epub 2006 Aug 7.

Meiotic cohesins modulate chromosome compaction during meiotic prophase in fission yeast.

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  • 1Cell Biology Group, Kansai Advanced Research Center, National Institute of Information and Communications Technology, Kobe 651-2492, Japan.


The meiotic cohesin Rec8 is required for the stepwise segregation of chromosomes during the two rounds of meiotic division. By directly measuring chromosome compaction in living cells of the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, we found an additional role for the meiotic cohesin in the compaction of chromosomes during meiotic prophase. In the absence of Rec8, chromosomes were decompacted relative to those of wild-type cells. Conversely, loss of the cohesin-associated protein Pds5 resulted in hypercompaction. Although this hypercompaction requires Rec8, binding of Rec8 to chromatin was reduced in the absence of Pds5, indicating that Pds5 promotes chromosome association of Rec8. To explain these observations, we propose that meiotic prophase chromosomes are organized as chromatin loops emanating from a Rec8-containing axis: the absence of Rec8 disrupts the axis, resulting in disorganized chromosomes, whereas reduced Rec8 loading results in a longitudinally compacted axis with fewer attachment points and longer chromatin loops.

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