Bloom syndrome helicase in meiosis: Pro-crossover functions of an anti-crossover protein.
The functions of the Bloom syndrome helicase (BLM) and its orthologs are well characterized in mitotic DNA damage repair, but their roles within the context of meiotic recombination are less clear. In meiotic recombination, multiple repair pathways are used to repair meiotic DSBs, and current studies suggest that BLM may regulate the use of these pathways. Based on literature from Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Arabidopsis thaliana, Mus musculus, Drosophila melanogaster, and Caenorhabditis elegans, we present a unified model for a critical meiotic role of BLM and its orthologs. In this model, BLM and its orthologs utilize helicase activity to regulate the use of various pathways in meiotic recombination by continuously disassembling recombination intermediates. This unwinding activity provides the meiotic program with a steady pool of early recombination substrates, increasing the probability for a DSB to be processed by the appropriate pathway. As a result of BLM activity, crossovers are properly placed throughout the genome, promoting proper chromosomal disjunction at the end of meiosis. This unified model can be used to further refine the complex role of BLM and its orthologs in meiotic recombination.