In fission yeast, meiotic prophase nuclei develop structures known as linear elements (LinEs), instead of a canonical synaptonemal complex. LinEs contain Rec10 protein. While Rec10 is essential for meiotic recombination, the precise role of LinEs in this process is unknown. Using in situ immunostaining, we show that Rec7 (which is required for meiosis-specific DNA double-strand break (DSB) formation) aggregates in foci on LinEs. The strand exchange protein Rad51, which is known to mark the sites of DSBs, also localizes to LinEs, although to a lesser degree. The number of Rec7 foci corresponds well with the average number of genetic recombination events per meiosis suggesting that Rec7 marks the sites of recombination. Rec7 and Rad51 foci do not co-localize, presumably because they act sequentially on recombination sites. The localization of Rec7 is dependent on Rec10 but independent of the DSB-inducing protein Rec12/Spo11. Neither Rec7 nor Rad51 localization depends on the LinE-associated proteins Hop1 and Mek1, but the formation of Rad51 foci depends on Rec10, Rec7, and, as expected, Rec12/Spo11. We propose that LinEs form around designated recombination sites before the induction of DSBs and that most, if not all, meiotic recombination initiates within the setting provided by LinEs.
- synaptonemal complex
- DNA double-strand break