Mechanisms of Meiosis
An essential component of sexual reproduction is the meiotic cell division program, during which haploid gametes are produced from a diploid progenitor cell. In most organisms, haploidization requires fragmentation and linkage of parental chromosomes. This is achieved by the generation of numerous DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) and their repair by homologous recombination. Paradoxically, chromosome reshuffling is a potent inducer of genome destabilization associated with human infertility and genetic disorders like Down syndrome. Thus, although needed for gametogenesis, DSB formation and repair comes with a substantial risk. We want to understand how cells navigate this meiotic paradox in order to safeguard gamete formation. To study this we use budding yeast and a multidisciplinary combination of genetics, molecular biology and biochemistry. In total, it is our goal to shed light on the molecular mechanisms that shape the meiotic DSB recombination landscape to ensure the safe transmission of the genome from one generation to the next.
Vincenten N, Kuhl LM, Lam I, Oke A, Kerr ARW, Hochwagen A, Fung J, Keeney S, Vader G*, Marston AL* (2015).
The kinetochore prevents centromere-proximal crossover recombination during meiosis
Vader G, Blitzblau HG, Tame MA, Falk JE, Curtin L, Hochwagen A (2011). Protection of repetitive DNA borders from self-induced meiotic instability. Nature 477(7362):115-9, highlighted in Nature Structural & Molecular Biology, 18, 970 (2011)