During meiosis, homologous chromosome pairing and synapsis are essential for subsequent meiotic recombination (crossing-over). Discontinuous regions (gaps) and unsynapsed regions (splits) were most frequently observed in the heterochromatic regions of bivalent synaptonemal complex (SC) 9, and we have previously demonstrated that gaps and splits significantly altered the distribution of MLH1 recombination foci on SC 9. Here, immunofluorescence techniques (using antibodies against SC proteins and the crossover-associated MLH1 protein) were combined with a centromere-specific fluorescence in situ hybridization technique that allows identification of every individual chromosome. The effect of gaps/splits on meiotic recombination patterns in autosomes other than chromosome 9 during the pachytene stage of meiotic prophase was then examined in 6,026 bivalents from 262 pachytene cells from three human males. In 64 analyzed cells with a gapped SC 9, the frequency of MLH1 foci in SCs 5 and 10 and in SC arms 10q, 11p and 16q was decreased compared to 168 analyzed cells with a normally-synapsed SC 9 (controls). In 24 analyzed cells with splits in SC 9, there was a significant reduction in MLH1 focus frequency for SC 5q and the whole SC5 bivalent. The positioning of MLH1 foci on other SCs in cells with gapped/split SC 9 was not altered. These studies suggest that gaps and splits not only have a cis effect, but may also have a trans effect on meiotic recombination in humans.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology