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Dynamic localization of SPO11-1 and conformational changes of meiotic axial elements during recombination initiation of maize meiosis

Abstract : Meiosis is essential during sexual reproduction to produce haploid gametes. Recombination is the most crucial step during meiotic prophase I. It enables pairing of homologous chromosomes prior to their reductional division and generates new combinations of genetic alleles for transmission to the next generation. Meiotic recombination is initiated by generating DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) via SPO11, a topoisomerase-related enzyme. The activity, timing and location of this DSB machinery must be controlled precisely, but how this is achieved remains obscure. Here, we show dynamic localization of SPO11-1 on chromatin during meiotic initiation in maize, yet a similar number of SPO11-1 is able to load onto axial elements (AEs), which accompanies a structural change of the AEs of wild-type meiotic chromosomes. Interestingly, loss of SPO11-1 not only affects DSB formation but also impairs structural alterations of AEs, resulting in abnormally long and curly AEs during early meiosis. Our study provides new insights into SPO11-1 localization during recombination initiation and suggests an intimate relationship between DSB formation and AE structural changes. Meiotic double-strand breaks (DSBs) are generated by the evolutionarily conserved SPO11 complex in the context of chromatin loops that are organized along axial elements (AEs) of chromosomes. However, how DSBs are formed with respect to chromosome axes and the SPO11 complex remains unclear in plants. Here, we confirm that DSB and bivalent formation are defective in maize spo11-1 mutants. Super-resolution microscopy demonstrates dynamic localization of SPO11-1 during recombination initiation, with variable numbers of SPO11-1 foci being distributed in nuclei but similar numbers of SPO11-1 foci being found on AEs. Notably, cytological analysis of spo11-1 meiocytes revealed an aberrant AE structure. At leptotene, AEs of wild-type and spo11-1 meiocytes were similarly curly and discontinuous. However, during early zygotene, wild-type AEs become uniform and exhibit shortened axes, whereas the elongated and curly AEs persisted in spo11-1 mutants, suggesting that loss of SPO11-1 compromised AE structural maturation. Our results reveal an interesting relationship between SPO11-1 loading onto AEs and the conformational remodeling of AEs during recombination initiation.
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Contributor : Christopher Lallemant <>
Submitted on : Monday, November 9, 2020 - 10:16:14 AM
Last modification on : Monday, November 9, 2020 - 10:16:16 AM

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Jia-Chi Ku, Arnaud Ronceret, Inna Golubovskaya, Ding Hua Lee, Chiting Wang, et al.. Dynamic localization of SPO11-1 and conformational changes of meiotic axial elements during recombination initiation of maize meiosis. PLoS Genetics, Public Library of Science, 2020, 16 (4), pp.e1007881. ⟨10.1371/journal.pgen.1007881⟩. ⟨hal-02995354⟩



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