Germline Progenitors Escape the Widespread Phenomenon of Homolog Pairing during Drosophila Development
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CitationJoyce, Eric F., Nicholas Apostolopoulos, Brian J. Beliveau, and C. -ting Wu. 2013. “Germline Progenitors Escape the Widespread Phenomenon of Homolog Pairing during Drosophila Development.” PLoS Genetics 9 (12): e1004013. doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.1004013. http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pgen.1004013.
AbstractHomolog pairing, which plays a critical role in meiosis, poses a potential risk if it occurs in inappropriate tissues or between nonallelic sites, as it can lead to changes in gene expression, chromosome entanglements, and loss-of-heterozygosity due to mitotic recombination. This is particularly true in Drosophila, which supports organismal-wide pairing throughout development. Discovered over a century ago, such extensive pairing has led to the perception that germline pairing in the adult gonad is an extension of the pairing established during embryogenesis and, therefore, differs from the mechanism utilized in most species to initiate pairing specifically in the germline. Here, we show that, contrary to long-standing assumptions, Drosophila meiotic pairing in the gonad is not an extension of pairing established during embryogenesis. Instead, we find that homologous chromosomes are unpaired in primordial germ cells from the moment the germline can be distinguished from the soma in the embryo and remain unpaired even in the germline stem cells of the adult gonad. We further establish that pairing originates immediately after the stem cell stage. This pairing occurs well before the initiation of meiosis and, strikingly, continues through the several mitotic divisions preceding meiosis. These discoveries indicate that the spatial organization of the Drosophila genome differs between the germline and the soma from the earliest moments of development and thus argue that homolog pairing in the germline is an active process as versus a passive continuation of pairing established during embryogenesis.
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