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Analysis of meiosis in SUN1 deficient mice reveals a distinct role of SUN2 in mammalian meiotic LINC complex formation and function.

Authors: Jana J. Link, Monika M. Leubner, Johannes J. Schmitt, Eva E. Göb, Ricardo R. Benavente, Kuan-Teh KT. Jeang, Rener R. Xu, Manfred M. Alsheimer
Published: 02/27/2014, PLoS genetics


LINC complexes are evolutionarily conserved nuclear envelope bridges, composed of SUN (Sad-1/UNC-84) and KASH (Klarsicht/ANC-1/Syne/homology) domain proteins. They are crucial for nuclear positioning and nuclear shape determination, and also mediate nuclear envelope (NE) attachment of meiotic telomeres, essential for driving homolog synapsis and recombination. In mice, SUN1 and SUN2 are the only SUN domain proteins expressed during meiosis, sharing their localization with meiosis-specific KASH5. Recent studies have shown that loss of SUN1 severely interferes with meiotic processes. Absence of SUN1 provokes defective telomere attachment and causes infertility. Here, we report that meiotic telomere attachment is not entirely lost in mice deficient for SUN1, but numerous telomeres are still attached to the NE through SUN2/KASH5-LINC complexes. In Sun1(-/-) meiocytes attached telomeres retained the capacity to form bouquet-like clusters. Furthermore, we could detect significant numbers of late meiotic recombination events in Sun1(-/-) mice. Together, this indicates that even in the absence of SUN1 telomere attachment and their movement within the nuclear envelope per se can be functional.

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