Indexed on: 23 Jun '11Published on: 23 Jun '11Published in: Journal of cell science
During meiosis, accurate segregation of intact chromosomes is essential for generating healthy gametes. Defects in recombination and/or chromosome synapsis activate the pachytene checkpoint, which delays meiotic cell cycle progression to avoid aberrant chromosome segregation and formation of defective gametes. Here, we characterize the role of the conserved DNA damage checkpoint protein Ddc2/ATRIP in this meiotic surveillance mechanism. We show that deletion of DDC2 relieves the checkpoint-dependent meiotic block that occurs in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants defective in various aspects of meiotic chromosome dynamics and results in the generation of faulty meiotic products. Moreover, production of the Ddc2 protein is induced during meiotic prophase, accumulates in checkpoint-arrested mutants and localizes to distinctive chromosomal foci. Formation of meiotic Ddc2 foci requires the generation of Spo11-dependent DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), and is impaired in an RPA mutant. Chromatin immunoprecipitation analysis reveals that Ddc2 accumulates at meiotic DSB sites, indicating that Ddc2 senses the presence of meiotic recombination intermediates. Furthermore, pachytene checkpoint signaling is defective in the ddc2 mutant. In addition, we show that mammalian ATRIP colocalizes with ATR, TopBP1 and RPA at unsynapsed regions of mouse meiotic chromosomes. Thus, our results point to an evolutionary conserved role for Ddc2/ATRIP in monitoring meiotic chromosome metabolism.