The chromosomal courtship dance-homolog pairing in early meiosis

Michael Klutstein, Julia Promisel Cooper*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The intermingling of genomes that characterizes sexual reproduction requires haploid gametes in which parental homologs have recombined. For this, homologs must pair during meiosis. In a crowded nucleus where sequence homology is obscured by the enormous scale and packaging of the genome, partner alignment is no small task. Here we review the early stages of this process. Chromosomes first establish an initial docking site, usually at telomeres or centromeres. The acquisition of chromosome-specific patterns of binding factors facilitates homolog recognition. Chromosomes are then tethered to the nuclear envelope (NE) and subjected to nuclear movements that 'shake off' inappropriate contacts while consolidating homolog associations. Thereafter, homolog connections are stabilized by building the synaptonemal complex or its equivalent and creating genetic crossovers. Recent perspectives on the roles of these stages will be discussed.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)123-131
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Cell Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 2014
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank the Cooper lab for fruitful discussions, Alex Fennell for comments on the manuscript and Hani Ebrahimi for help with figure preparation. MK and JPC have been funded by Cancer Research UK , the European Research Council , a Marie Curie postdoctoral fellowship to MK, and the National Institutes of Health .


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