Latest Articles Include:
- Copper: An essential metal in biology
- Curr Biol 21(21):R877-R883 (2011)
Life on Earth has evolved within a complex mixture of organic and inorganic compounds. While organic molecules such as amino acids, carbohydrates and nucleotides form the backbone of proteins and genetic material, these fundamental components of macromolecules are enzymatically synthesized and ultimately degraded. Inorganic elements, such as copper (Cu), iron and zinc, once solubilized from the Earth's crust, are neither created nor destroyed and therefore their homeostatic regulation is under strict control. In the fascinating field of 'metals in biology', by virtue of direct interactions with amino acid side-chains within polypeptide chains, metals play unique and critical roles in biology, promoting structures and chemistries that would not otherwise be available to proteins alone.
- A Pathway for Synapsis Initiation during Zygotene in Drosophila Oocytes
- Curr Biol 21(21):1852-1857 (2011)
Formation of the synaptonemal complex (SC), or synapsis, between homologs in meiosis is essential for crossing over and chromosome segregation [  ,  ,  and  ]. How SC assembly initiates is poorly understood but may have a critical role in ensuring synapsis between homologs and regulating double-strand break (DSB) and crossover formation. We investigated the genetic requirements for synapsis in Drosophila and found that there are three temporally and genetically distinct stages of synapsis initiation. In "early zygotene" oocytes, synapsis is only observed at the centromeres. We also found that nonhomologous centromeres are clustered during this process. In "mid-zygotene" oocytes, SC initiates at several euchromatic sites. The centromeric and first euchromatic SC initiation sites depend on the cohesion protein ORD. In "late zygotene" oocytes, SC initiates at many more sites that depend on the Kleisin-like protein C(2)M. Surprisingly, late zygo! tene synapsis initiation events are independent of the earlier mid-zygotene events, whereas both mid and late synapsis initiation events depend on the cohesin subunits SMC1 and SMC3. We propose that the enrichment of cohesion proteins at specific sites promotes homolog interactions and the initiation of euchromatic SC assembly independent of DSBs. Furthermore, the early euchromatic SC initiation events at mid-zygotene may be required for DSBs to be repaired as crossovers.