Cytological analysis of MRE11 protein during early meiotic prophase I in Arabidopsis and tomato

L.D. Lohmiller, A. Muyt, B. Howard, H.H. Offenberg, C. Heyting, M. Grelon, L.K. Anderson

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18 Citations (Scopus)


Early recombination nodules (ENs) are multiprotein complexes that are thought to be involved in synapsis and recombination, but little is known about their components or how they may be involved in these events. In this study, we describe the cytological behavior of a possible EN component, MRE11, a protein that is important for the repair of the numerous, programmed deoxyribonucleic acid double-strand breaks (DSBs) that occur early in the meiotic prophase. By immunofluorescence, many MRE11 foci were associated with chromosomal axes during early prophase I in both wild-type Arabidopsis and tomato primary microsporocytes. Similar patterns of MRE11 foci were observed in two Arabidopsis mutants (Atspo11-1 and Atprd1) that are defective in DSB formation and synapsis. In tomato chromosomes, MRE11 foci were more common in distal euchromatin than in proximal heterochromatin, consistent with known EN patterns. However, electron microscopic immunogold localization demonstrated that only about 10% of ENs were labeled, and most MRE11 label was associated with synaptonemal complex components. Thus, in plants, MRE11 foci are not dependent on DSB formation, and most MRE11 foci do not correspond to ENs. More generally, our results show that the simple presence of large numbers of fluorescent foci associated with synapsing chromosomes is insufficient evidence to equate these foci with ENs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)277-288
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • lycopersicon-esculentum tomato
  • two-dimensional spreads
  • situ hybridization fish
  • double-strand breaks
  • synaptonemal complexes
  • recombination nodules
  • dna-repair
  • chromosomal instability
  • solanaceous plants
  • budding yeast

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