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A molecular model for the role of SYCP3 in meiotic chromosome organisation

DOI: 10.7554/eLife.02963 DOI Help
PMID: 24950965 PMID Help

Authors: Johanna Syrjanen (University of Cambridge, U.K.) , Luca Pellegrini (University of Cambridge, U.K.) , Owen Davies (University of Cambridge, U.K.)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Elife , VOL 3

State: Published (Approved)
Published: June 2014

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: The synaptonemal complex (SC) is an evolutionarily-conserved protein assembly that holds together homologous chromosomes during prophase of the first meiotic division. Whilst essential for meiosis and fertility, the molecular structure of the SC has proved resistant to elucidation. The SC protein SYCP3 has a crucial but poorly understood role in establishing the architecture of the meiotic chromosome. Here we show that human SYCP3 forms a highly-elongated helical tetramer of 20 nm length. N-terminal sequences extending from each end of the rod-like structure bind double-stranded DNA, enabling SYCP3 to link distant sites along the sister chromatid. We further find that SYCP3 self-assembles into regular filamentous structures that resemble the known morphology of the SC lateral element. Together, our data form the basis for a model in which SYCP3 binding and assembly on meiotic chromosomes leads to their organisation into compact structures compatible with recombination and crossover formation.

Subject Areas: Biology and Bio-materials


Instruments: I03-Macromolecular Crystallography

Other Facilities: The SOLEIL synchrotron facility