The Fission Yeast FANCM Ortholog Directs Non-Crossover Recombination During Meiosis

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Science  22 Jun 2012:
Vol. 336, Issue 6088, pp. 1585-1588
DOI: 10.1126/science.1220111

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No Crossing Over

To ensure the correct division of chromosome during the reduction division of meiosis, homologous chromosomes undergo double-strand breaks that—through crossing over and recombination—link the homologs together (and importantly introduce diversity into the genomes of gametes). But only a minority of these crossovers results in recombination—most are directed into non-crossover pathways. Lorenz et al. (p. 1585), working in the yeast Schizosaccharomyces pombe, and Crismani et al. (p. 1588), working in the higher plant Arabidopsis thaliana, looked for the factors that limit crossovers and promote non-crossover pathways. The homolog of the human Fanconi anemia complementation group M (FANCM) helicase protein was found to be a major meiotic anti-recombinase, which could drive meiotic recombination intermediates into the non-crossover pathway.


The formation of healthy gametes depends on programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), which are each repaired as a crossover (CO) or non-crossover (NCO) from a homologous template. Although most of these DSBs are repaired without giving COs, little is known about the genetic requirements of NCO-specific recombination. We show that Fml1, the Fanconi anemia complementation group M (FANCM)–ortholog of Schizosaccharomyces pombe, directs the formation of NCOs during meiosis in competition with the Mus81-dependent pro-CO pathway. We also define the Rad51/Dmc1–mediator Swi5-Sfr1 as a major determinant in biasing the recombination process in favor of Mus81, to ensure the appropriate amount of COs to guide meiotic chromosome segregation. The conservation of these proteins from yeast to humans suggests that this interplay may be a general feature of meiotic recombination.

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