Keeping the genome in shape: a physiological role for NHEJ in meiosis

Super-resolution image of spread meiotic nucleus at pachytene stage stained for the axis with an anti-ASY1 antibody (magenta) and for cohesin with an anti-REC8 antibody (green). The nucleus was imaged with an Abberior STEDYCON microscope at 40-60 nm resolution. Scale bar = 2 µm.

DNA double strand breaks (DSB) are an essential feature during meiosis, a cell division process found in all sexually reproducing organisms. Repair of these breaks mediates exchange of genetic information between parental genomes. Errors during this process can cause genome instability. The lab of Peter Schlögelhofer has discovered that the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) DNA repair mechanism plays an important role in repairing ribosomal DNA during meiosis. The findings are published in the current issue of The Plant Cell.