A cytological approach to study meiotic recombination and chromosome dynamics of Arabidopsis thaliana male meiocytes in three dimensions

Authors Organisations
Type Article
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)385-396
Number of pages12
JournalPlant Journal
Issue number2
Early online date22 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jul 2018
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During meiotic prophase I chromosomes undergo dramatic conformational changes that accompany chromosome condensation, pairing and recombination between homologs. These changes include the anchoring of telomeres to the nuclear envelope and their clustering to form a bouquet. In plants, these events have been studied and illustrated in intact meiocytes of large genome species. Arabidopsis thaliana is an excellent genetic model where major molecular pathways that control synapsis and recombination between homologs have been uncovered. Yet the study of chromosome dynamics is hampered by current cytological methods that disrupt the 3D architecture of the nucleus. Here we set up a protocol to preserve the 3D configuration of A. thaliana meiocytes. We showed that this technique is compatible with the use of a variety of antibodies that label structural and recombination proteins and were able to highlight the presence of clustered synapsis initiation centers at the nuclear periphery. By using fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) we also studied chromosome behavior during premeiotic G2 and prophase I, revealing the existence of a telomere bouquet during A. thaliana male meiosis. In addition we showed that the number of telomeres in a bouquet and its volume vary greatly thus revealing the complexity of telomere behavior during meiotic prophase I. Finally, by using probes that label subtelomeric regions of individual chromosomes we revealed differential localization behaviors of chromosome ends. Our protocol opens new areas of research to investigate chromosome dynamics in A. thaliana meiocytes


  • meiosis, arabidopsis thaliana, 3D, telomere bouquet, synapsis initiation centers, chromosome dynamics, technical advance