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BACKGROUND: Meiosis produces haploid gametes from diploid progenitor cells. This reduction is achieved by two successive nuclear divisions after one round of DNA replication. Correct chromosome segregation during the first division depends on sister kinetochores being oriented toward the same spindle pole while homologous kinetochores must face opposite poles. Segregation during the second division depends on retention of sister chromatid cohesion between centromeres until the onset of anaphase II, which in Drosophila melanogaster depends on a protein called Mei-S332 that binds to centromeres. RESULTS: We report the identification of two homologs of Mei-S332 in fission yeast using a knockout screen. Together with their fly ortholog they define a protein family conserved from fungi to mammals. The two identified genes, sgo1 and sgo2, are required for retention of sister centromere cohesion between meiotic divisions and kinetochore orientation during meiosis I, respectively. The amount of meiotic cohesin's Rec8 subunit retained at centromeres after meiosis I is reduced in Deltasgo1, but not in Deltasgo2, cells, and Sgo1 appears to regulate cleavage of Rec8 by separase. Both Sgo1 and Sgo2 proteins localize to centromere regions. The abundance of Sgo1 protein normally declines after the first meiotic division, but extending its expression by altering its 3'UTR sequences does not greatly affect meiosis II. Its mere presence within the cell might therefore be insufficient to protect centromeric cohesion. CONCLUSIONS: A conserved protein family based on Mei-S332 has been identified. The two fission yeast homologs are implicated in meiosis I kinetochore orientation and retention of centromeric sister chromatid cohesion until meiosis II.

Original publication




Journal article


Curr Biol

Publication Date





287 - 301


Amino Acid Sequence, Animals, Cell Cycle Proteins, Centromere, Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone, Chromosome Segregation, Drosophila Proteins, Endopeptidases, Gene Expression Profiling, Kinetochores, Meiosis, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Molecular Sequence Data, Phosphoproteins, Schizosaccharomyces, Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins, Separase, Sequence Alignment