2016 Volume 62 Issue 6 Pages 623-630
Cohesins containing a meiosis-specific α-kleisin subunit, RAD21L or REC8, play roles in diverse aspects of meiotic chromosome dynamics including formation of axial elements (AEs), assembly of the synaptonemal complex (SC), recombination of homologous chromosomes (homologs), and cohesion of sister chromatids. However, the exact functions of individual α-kleisins remain to be elucidated. Here, we examined the localization of RAD21L and REC8 within the SC by super-resolution microscopy, 3D-SIM. We found that both RAD21L and REC8 were localized at the connection sites between lateral elements (LEs) and transverse filaments (TFs) of pachynema with RAD21L locating interior to REC8 sites. RAD21L and REC8 were not symmetrical in terms of synaptic homologs, suggesting that the arrangement of different cohesins is not strictly fixed along all chromosome axes. Intriguingly, some RAD21L signals, but not REC8 signals, were observed between unsynapsed regions of AEs of zygonema as if they formed a bridge between homologs. Furthermore, the signals of recombination intermediates overlapped with those of RAD21L to a greater degree than with those of REC8. These results highlight the different properties of two meiotic α-kleisins, and strongly support the previous proposition that RAD21L is an atypical cohesin that establishes the association between homologs rather than sister chromatids.