The generation of haploid gametes by meiosis is a highly conserved process for sexually reproducing organisms that, in almost all cases, involves the extensive breakage of chromosomes. These chromosome breaks occur during meiotic prophase and are essential for meiotic recombination as well as the subsequent segregation of homologous chromosomes. However, their formation and repair must be carefully monitored and choreographed with nuclear dynamics and the cell division program to avoid the creation of aberrant chromosomes and defective gametes. It is becoming increasingly clear that an intricate checkpoint-signaling network related to the canonical DNA damage response is deeply interwoven with the meiotic program and preserves order during meiotic prophase. This meiotic checkpoint network (MCN) creates a wide range of dependent relationships controlling chromosome movement, chromosome pairing, chromatin structure, and double-strand break (DSB) repair. In this review, we summarize our current understanding of the MCN. We discuss commonalities and differences in different experimental systems, with a particular emphasis on the emerging design principles that control and limit cross talk between signals to ultimately ensure the faithful inheritance of chromosomes by the next generation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)