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Distinct functions of S. pombe Rec12 (Spo11) protein and Rec12-dependent crossover recombination (chiasmata) in meiosis I; and a requirement for Rec12 in meiosis II

Wallace D Sharif1, Gloria G Glick2, Mari K Davidson1 and Wayne P Wahls1*

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR 72205, USA

2 Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Nashville, TN 37232-0146, USA

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Cell & Chromosome 2002, 1:1  doi:10.1186/1475-9268-1-1

Published: 19 September 2002



In most organisms proper reductional chromosome segregation during meiosis I is strongly correlated with the presence of crossover recombination structures (chiasmata); recombination deficient mutants lack crossovers and suffer meiosis I nondisjunction. We report that these functions are separable in the fission yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe.


Intron mapping and expression studies confirmed that Rec12 is a member of the Spo11/Top6A topoisomerase family required for the formation of meiotic dsDNA breaks and recombination. rec12-117, rec12-D15 (null), and rec12-Y98F (active site) mutants lacked most crossover recombination and chromosomes segregated abnormally to generate aneuploid meiotic products. Since S. pombe contains only three chromosome pairs, many of those aneuploid products were viable. The types of aberrant chromosome segregation were inferred from the inheritance patterns of centromere linked markers in diploid meiotic products. The rec12-117 and rec12-D15 mutants manifest segregation errors during both meiosis I and meiosis II. Remarkably, the rec12-Y98F (active site) mutant exhibited essentially normal meiosis I segregation patterns, but still exhibited meiosis II segregation errors.


Rec12 is a 345 amino acid protein required for most crossover recombination and for chiasmatic segregation of chromosomes during meiosis I. Rec12 also participates in a backup distributive (achiasmatic) system of chromosome segregation during meiosis I. In addition, catalytically-active Rec12 mediates some signal that is required for faithful equational segregation of chromosomes during meiosis II.