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Curr Biol. 2002 Jun 4;12(11):925-9.

The sister-chromatid cohesion protein ORD is required for chiasma maintenance in Drosophila oocytes.

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Department of Biological Sciences, Dartmouth College, 6044 Gilman, Hanover, NH 03755, USA.


Accurate chromosome partitioning during cell division requires that cohesion hold sister chromatids together until kinetochores correctly attach to spindle microtubules. In 1932, Darlington noted that sister-chromatid cohesion distal to the site of exchange also could play a vital role in maintaining the association of chiasmate homologs during meiosis. Cohesion linking a recombinant chromatid with a sister of each homologous pair would resist spindle forces that separate kinetochores of homologous chromosomes (see Figure 1). Although centromeric cohesion must be retained to ensure proper segregation during meiosis II, dissolution of arm cohesion would be required for anaphase I to occur. This hypothesis is supported by recent evidence in yeast and C. elegans that separase activity is essential for the segregation of recombinant homologs during meiosis I. We present evidence that Drosophila oocytes require sister-chromatid cohesion to maintain a physical attachment between recombinant chromosomes. Using FISH to monitor cohesion directly, we confirm that oocytes lacking ORD activity exhibit cohesion defects, consistent with previous genetic results. We also show that ord(null) oocytes that have undergone recombination are unable to arrest at metaphase I, indicating that chiasmata are unstable in the absence of cohesion. Our results support the model that arm cohesion provides a conserved mechanism that ensures physical attachment between recombinant homologs until anaphase I.

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