Indexed on: 10 Aug '18Published on: 10 Aug '18Published in: PLoS genetics
In meiosis I, homologous chromosomes segregate away from each other-the first of two rounds of chromosome segregation that allow the formation of haploid gametes. In prophase I, homologous partners become joined along their length by the synaptonemal complex (SC) and crossovers form between the homologs to generate links called chiasmata. The chiasmata allow the homologs to act as a single unit, called a bivalent, as the chromosomes attach to the microtubules that will ultimately pull them away from each other at anaphase I. Recent studies, in several organisms, have shown that when the SC disassembles at the end of prophase, residual SC proteins remain at the homologous centromeres providing an additional link between the homologs. In budding yeast, this centromere pairing is correlated with improved segregation of the paired partners in anaphase. However, the causal relationship of prophase centromere pairing and subsequent disjunction in anaphase has been difficult to demonstrate as has been the relationship between SC assembly and the assembly of the centromere pairing apparatus. Here, a series of in-frame deletion mutants of the SC component Zip1 were used to address these questions. The identification of a separation-of-function allele that disrupts centromere pairing, but not SC assembly, has made it possible to demonstrate that centromere pairing and SC assembly have mechanistically distinct features and that the centromere pairing function of Zip1 drives disjunction of the paired partners in anaphase I.