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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Arabidopsis Separase AESP Is Essential for Embryo Development and the Release of Cohesin during Meiosis.

To investigate how and when sister chromatid cohesion is released from chromosomes in plants, we isolated the Arabidopsis thaliana homolog of separase (AESP) and investigated its role in somatic and meiotic cells. AESP is similar to separase proteins identified in other organisms but contains several additional structural motifs. The characterization of two Arabidopsis T-DNA insertion alleles for AESP demonstrated that it is an essential gene. Seeds homozygous for T-DNA insertions in AESP exhibited embryo arrest at the globular stage. The endosperm also exhibited a weak titan-like phenotype. Transgenic plants expressing AESP RNA interference (RNAi) from the meiosis-specific DMC1 promoter exhibited alterations in chromosome segregation during meiosis I and II that resulted in polyads containing from one to eight microspores. Consistent with its predicted role in the release of sister chromatid cohesion, immunolocalization studies showed that the removal of SYN1 from chromosome arms and the centromeres is inhibited in the RNAi mutants. However, the release of SYN1 during diplotene occurred normally, indicating that this process is independent of AESP. Therefore, our results demonstrate that AESP plays an essential role in embryo development and provide direct evidence that AESP is required for the removal of cohesin from meiotic chromosomes.[1]


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