The number of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) initiating meiotic recombination is elevated in Saccharomyces cerevisiae mutants that are globally defective in forming crossovers and synaptonemal complex (SC), a protein scaffold juxtaposing homologous chromosomes. These mutants thus appear to lack a negative feedback loop that inhibits DSB formation when homologs engage one another. This feedback is predicted to be chromosome autonomous, but this has not been tested. Moreover, what chromosomal process is recognized as “homolog engagement” remains unclear. To address these questions, we evaluated effects of homolog engagement defects restricted to small portions of the genome using karyotypically abnormal yeast strains with a homeologous chromosome V pair, monosomic V, or trisomy XV. We found that homolog engagement-defective chromosomes incurred more DSBs, concomitant with prolonged retention of the DSB-promoting protein Rec114, while the rest of the genome remained unaffected. SC-deficient, crossover-proficient mutants ecm11 and gmc2 experienced increased DSB numbers diagnostic of homolog engagement defects. These findings support the hypothesis that SC formation provokes DSB protein dissociation, leading in turn to loss of a DSB competent state. Our findings show that DSB number is regulated in a chromosome-autonomous fashion and provide insight into how homeostatic DSB controls respond to aneuploidy during meiosis.
- double-strand breaks
- synaptonemal complex