ASY1 coordinates early events in the plant meiotic recombination pathway

Eugenio Sanchez-Moran, Kim Osman, James Higgins, M Pradillo, N Cunado, Gareth Jones, Frederick Franklin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Meiosis is a fundamental and evolutionarily conserved process that is central to the life cycles of all sexually reproducing eukaryotes. An understanding of this process is critical to furthering research on reproduction, fertility, genetics and breeding. Plants have been used extensively in cytogenetic studies of meiosis during the last century. Until recently, our knowledge of the molecular and functional aspects of meiosis has emerged from the study of non-plant model organisms, especially budding yeast. However, the emergence of Arabidopsis thaliana as the model organism for plant molecular biology and genetics has enabled significant progress in the characterisation of key genes and proteins controlling plant meiosis. The development of molecular and cytological techniques in Arabidopsis, besides allowing investigation of the more conserved aspects of meiosis, are also providing insights into features of this complex process which may vary between organisms. This review highlights an example of this recent progress by focussing on ASY1, a meiosis-specific Arabidopsis protein which shares some similarity with the N-terminus region of the yeast axial core-associated protein, HOP1, a component of a multiprotein complex which acts as a meiosis-specific barrier to sister-chromatid repair in budding yeast. In the absence of ASY1, synapsis is interrupted and chiasma formation is dramatically reduced. ASY1 protein is initially detected during early meiotic G2 as numerous foci distributed over the chromatin. As G2 progresses the signal appears to be increasingly continuous and is closely associated with the axial elements. State-of-the-art cytogenetic techniques have revealed that initiation of recombination is synchronised with the formation of the chromosome axis. Furthermore, in the context of the developing chromosome axes, ASY1 plays a crucial role in co-ordinating the activity of a key member of the homologous recombination machinery, AtDMC1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)302-312
Number of pages11
JournalCytogenetic and Genome Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 23 May 2008

Bibliographical note

2008 S. Karger AG, Basel


  • Arabidopsis/cytology
  • Arabidopsis Proteins/genetics
  • Chromosomes, Plant/genetics
  • Crossing Over, Genetic
  • Cytogenetics
  • DNA, Plant/genetics
  • DNA-Binding Proteins/genetics
  • Genes, Plant
  • Meiosis/genetics
  • Models, Genetic
  • Mutation
  • Recombination, Genetic


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