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Protection of peri-centromeric (periCEN) REC8 cohesin from Separase and sister kinetochore (KT) attachment to microtubules emanating from the same spindle pole (co-orientation) ensures that sister chromatids remain associated after meiosis I. Both features are lost during meiosis II, resulting in sister chromatid disjunction and the production of haploid gametes. By transferring spindle-chromosome complexes (SCCs) between meiosis I and II in mouse oocytes, we discovered that both sister KT co-orientation and periCEN cohesin protection depend on the SCC, and not the cytoplasm. Moreover, the catalytic activity of Separase at meiosis I is necessary not only for converting KTs from a co- to a bi-oriented state but also for deprotection of periCEN cohesion, and cleavage of REC8 may be the key event. Crucially, selective cleavage of REC8 in the vicinity of KTs is sufficient to destroy co-orientation in univalent chromosomes, albeit not in bivalents where resolution of chiasmata may also be required.

Original publication




Journal article


Dev Cell

Publication Date



Separase, cohesin, cohesin protection, kinetochore orientation, mammal, meiosis, mouse, oocyte, shugoshin