Couples, pairs, and clusters: mechanisms and implications of centromere associations in meiosis.

Research paper by David D Obeso, Roberto J RJ Pezza, Dean D Dawson

Indexed on: 16 Oct '13Published on: 16 Oct '13Published in: Chromosoma


Observations of a wide range of organisms show that the centromeres form associations of pairs or small groups at different stages of meiotic prophase. Little is known about the functions or mechanisms of these associations, but in many cases, synaptonemal complex elements seem to play a fundamental role. Two main associations are observed: homology-independent associations very early in the meiotic program-sometimes referred to as centromere coupling-and a later association of homologous centromeres, referred to as centromere pairing or tethering. The later centromere pairing initiates during synaptonemal complex assembly, then persists after the dissolution of the synaptonemal complex. While the function of the homology-independent centromere coupling remains a mystery, centromere pairing appears to have a direct impact on the chromosome segregation fidelity of achiasmatic chromosomes. Recent work in yeast, Drosophila, and mice suggest that centromere pairing is a previously unappreciated, general meiotic feature that may promote meiotic segregation fidelity of the exchange and non-exchange chromosomes.