Pathways to meiotic recombination in Arabidopsis thaliana

Authors


Author for correspondence:
F. Chris H. Franklin
Tel: +44 121 4145910
Email: f.c.h.franklin@bham.ac.uk

Abstract

Contents

 Summary523
I.Introduction524
II.The meiotic pathway: a brief overview524
III.Homologous chromosome pairing and  movement during prophase I525
IV.Meiotic DNA double-strand break formation526
V.Processing of DNA double-strand breaks528
VI.Strand exchange: the role of the RecA  homologues and their accessory proteins529
VII.Promotion of stable strand exchange532
VIII.Pathways to crossover formation532
IX.The class I pathway of meiotic recombination533
X.The class II pathway of meiotic recombination536
XI.Holliday junction (Hj) resolution537
XII.Noncrossover pathways and the crossover/ noncrossover decision537
XIII.Conclusions538
 Acknowledgements538
 References538

Summary

Meiosis is a central feature of sexual reproduction. Studies in plants have made and continue to make an important contribution to fundamental research aimed at the understanding of this complex process. Moreover, homologous recombination during meiosis provides the basis for plant breeders to create new varieties of crops. The increasing global demand for food, combined with the challenges from climate change, will require sustained efforts in crop improvement. An understanding of the factors that control meiotic recombination has the potential to make an important contribution to this challenge by providing the breeder with the means to make fuller use of the genetic variability that is available within crop species. Cytogenetic studies in plants have provided considerable insights into chromosome organization and behaviour during meiosis. More recently, studies, predominantly in Arabidopsis thaliana, are providing important insights into the genes and proteins that are required for crossover formation during plant meiosis. As a result, substantial progress in the understanding of the molecular mechanisms that underpin meiosis in plants has begun to emerge. This article summarizes current progress in the understanding of meiotic recombination and its control in Arabidopsis. We also assess the relationship between meiotic recombination in Arabidopsis and other eukaryotes, highlighting areas of close similarity and apparent differences.

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