Editors' ChoiceCell Cycle

Checkpoint for Synapsis

STKE  13 Dec 2005:
Vol. 2005, Issue 314, pp. tw444
DOI: 10.1126/stke.3142005tw444

The complex mechanics of the eukaryotic cell cycle is monitored at a number of points to ensure that everything is going according to plan before the next step in the process is executed. Known checkpoints include DNA replication, DNA damage, and spindle function. Bhalla and Dernburg identify a checkpoint that monitors synapsis, or pairing between homologous chromosomes during the meiotic (haploid gamete-producing) cell cycle in Caenorhabditis elegans, which ensures the accurate chromosome segregation during division. The checkpoint requires chromosomal sites known as pairing centers, where synapsis initiates, and is distinct from the DNA damage checkpoint monitoring meiotic recombination. The checkpoint involves the PCH2 gene, which is also involved in the pachytene checkpoint in budding yeast.

N. Bhalla, A. F. Dernburg, A conserved checkpoint monitors meiotic chromosome synapsis in Caenorhabditis elegans. Science 310, 1683-1686 (2005). [Abstract] [Full Text]