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Trends Cell Biol. 2011 Jul;21(7):393-400. doi: 10.1016/j.tcb.2011.03.004. Epub 2011 Apr 29.

Checkpoint mechanisms: the puppet masters of meiotic prophase.

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Department of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry, Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT 06459, USA.


The coordinated execution of cell cycle processes during meiosis is essential for the production of viable gametes and fertility. Coordination is particularly important during meiotic prophase, when nuclei undergo a dramatic reorganization that requires the precise choreography of chromosome movements, pairing interactions and DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair. Analysis of the underlying regulatory mechanisms has revealed crucial and widespread roles for DNA-damage checkpoint proteins, not only in cell cycle surveillance, but also in controlling many processes uniquely characteristic of meiosis. The resulting regulatory network uses checkpoint machinery to provide an integral coordinating mechanism during every meiotic division and enables cells to safely maintain an error-prone event such as DSB formation as an essential part of the meiotic program.

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