Meiotic cohesins mediate initial loading of HORMAD1 to the chromosomes and coordinate SC formation during meiotic prophase

by Yasuhiro Fujiwara, Yuki Horisawa-Takada, Erina Inoue, Naoki Tani, Hiroki Shibuya, Sayoko Fujimura, Ryo Kariyazono, Toyonori Sakata, Kunihiro Ohta, Kimi Araki, Yuki Okada, Kei-ichiro Ishiguro

During meiotic prophase, sister chromatids are organized into axial element (AE), which underlies the structural framework for the meiotic events such as meiotic recombination and homolog synapsis. HORMA domain-containing proteins (HORMADs) localize along AE and play critical roles in the regulation of those meiotic events. Organization of AE is attributed to two groups of proteins: meiotic cohesins REC8 and RAD21L; and AE components SYCP2 and SYCP3. It has been elusive how these chromosome structural proteins contribute to the chromatin loading of HORMADs prior to AE formation. Here we newly generated Sycp2 null mice and showed that initial chromatin loading of HORMAD1 was mediated by meiotic cohesins prior to AE formation. HORMAD1 interacted not only with the AE components SYCP2 and SYCP3 but also with meiotic cohesins. Notably, HORMAD1 interacted with meiotic cohesins even in Sycp2-KO, and localized along cohesin axial cores independently of the AE components SYCP2 and SYCP3. Hormad1/Rad21L-double knockout (dKO) showed more severe defects in the formation of synaptonemal complex (SC) compared to Hormad1-KO or Rad21L-KO. Intriguingly, Hormad1/Rec8-dKO but not Hormad1/Rad21L-dKO showed precocious separation of sister chromatid axis. These findings suggest that meiotic cohesins REC8 and RAD21L mediate chromatin loading and the mode of action of HORMAD1 for synapsis during early meiotic prophase.

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