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Mol Biol Cell. 2009 Feb;20(3):1030-47. doi: 10.1091/mbc.E08-06-0637. Epub 2008 Dec 10.

The multiple roles of cohesin in meiotic chromosome morphogenesis and pairing.

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  • 1David H. Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MA 02142, USA.


Sister chromatid cohesion, mediated by cohesin complexes, is laid down during DNA replication and is essential for the accurate segregation of chromosomes. Previous studies indicated that, in addition to their cohesion function, cohesins are essential for completion of recombination, pairing, meiotic chromosome axis formation, and assembly of the synaptonemal complex (SC). Using mutants in the cohesin subunit Rec8, in which phosphorylated residues were mutated to alanines, we show that cohesin phosphorylation is not only important for cohesin removal, but that cohesin's meiotic prophase functions are distinct from each other. We find pairing and SC formation to be dependent on Rec8, but independent of the presence of a sister chromatid and hence sister chromatid cohesion. We identified mutations in REC8 that differentially affect Rec8's cohesion, pairing, recombination, chromosome axis and SC assembly function. These findings define Rec8 as a key determinant of meiotic chromosome morphogenesis and a central player in multiple meiotic events.

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