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Genes Dev. 2002 Jul 1;16(13):1682-95.

Close, stable homolog juxtaposition during meiosis in budding yeast is dependent on meiotic recombination, occurs independently of synapsis, and is distinct from DSB-independent pairing contacts.

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Section of Molecular and Cellular Biology, University of California, Davis, Davis, California 95616, USA.


A site-specific recombination system that probes the relative probabilities that pairs of chromosomal loci collide with one another in living cells of budding yeast was used to explore the relative contributions of pairing, recombination, synaptonemal complex formation, and telomere clustering to the close juxtaposition of homologous chromosome pairs during meiosis. The level of Cre-mediated recombination between a pair of loxP sites located at an allelic position on homologous chromosomes was 13-fold greater than that between a pair of loxP sites located at ectopic positions on nonhomologous chromosomes. Mutations affecting meiotic recombination initiation and the processing of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) into single-end invasions (SEIs) reduced the levels of allelic Cre-mediated recombination levels by three- to sixfold. The severity of Cre/loxP phenotypes is presented in contrast to relatively weak DSB-independent pairing defects as assayed using fluorescence in situ hybridization for these mutants. Mutations affecting synaptonemal complex (SC) formation or crossover control gave wild-type levels of allelic Cre-mediated recombination. A delay in attaining maximum levels of allelic Cre-mediated recombination was observed for a mutant defective in telomere clustering. None of the mutants affected ectopic levels of recombination. These data suggest that stable, close homolog juxtaposition in yeast is distinct from pre-DSB pairing interactions, requires both DSB and SEI formation, but does not depend on crossovers or SC.

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