Fission yeast Taz1 protein is required for meiotic telomere clustering and recombination

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The alignment of homologous chromosomes during meiosis is essential for their recombination and segregation.Telomeres form and protect the ends of eukaryotic linear chromosomes, and are composed of tandem repeats of a simple DNA sequence and the proteins that bind to these repeats [1-3]. A role for telomeres in meiosis was suspected from observations of telomere clustering in meiosis cells [4-7], and has now been supported experimentally by the dramatic rearrangement of telomere locations during pre-meiotic stages in fission yeast [8,9]. Here we show that the fission yeast telomere protein, Taz1 [10], is required for stable association between telomeres and spindle pole bodies during meiotic prophase. In the absence of Taz1, telomere clustering at the spindle pole bodies is disrupted, meiotic recombination is reduced, and both spore viability and the ability of zygotes to re-enter mitosis are impaired to a level that would be expected if chromosome segregation were occurring randomly. Such telomeric association mediated by telomere-specific proteins may also be important for proper chromosome alignment and recombination during meiosis in humans.

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