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Dev Cell. 2011 Nov 15;21(5):948-58. doi: 10.1016/j.devcel.2011.07.011. Epub 2011 Oct 20.

Polo kinases establish links between meiotic chromosomes and cytoskeletal forces essential for homolog pairing.

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Department of Biology, McGill University, 1205 avenue Docteur Penfield, Montreal, Quebec H2A 1B1, Canada.


During meiosis, chromosomes must find and align with their homologous partners. SUN and KASH-domain protein pairs play a conserved role by establishing transient linkages between chromosome ends and cytoskeletal forces across the intact nuclear envelope (NE). In C. elegans, a pairing center (PC) on each chromosome mediates homolog pairing and linkage to the microtubule network. We report that the polo kinases PLK-1 and PLK-2 are targeted to the PC by ZIM/HIM-8-pairing proteins. Loss of plk-2 inhibits chromosome pairing and licenses synapsis between nonhomologous chromosomes, indicating that PLK-2 is required for PC-mediated interhomolog interactions. plk-2 is also required for meiosis-specific phosphorylation of SUN-1 and establishment of dynamic SUN/KASH (SUN-1/ZYG-12) modules that promote homolog pairing. Our results provide key insights into the regulation of homolog pairing and reveal that targeting of polo-like kinases to the NE by meiotic chromosomes establishes the conserved linkages to cytoskeletal forces needed for homology assessment.

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