Residual recombination in Neurospora crassa spo11 deletion homozygotes occurs during meiosis

Frederick Bowring, Patricia Yeadon, David Catcheside

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    4 Citations (Scopus)


    Spo11 is considered responsible for initiation of meiotic recombination in higher organisms, but previous analysis using spo11 RIP mutants suggests that the his-3 region of Neurospora crassa experiences spo11-independent recombination. However, despite possessing several stop codons, it is conceivable that the mutants are not completely null. Also, since lack of spo11 interferes with chromosomal pairing and proper segregation at Meiosis I, spores can be partially diploid for a period after meiosis. Thus, it is possible that the recombination observed could be an abnormal event, occurring during the period of aneuploidy rather than during meiosis. To test the former hypothesis, we generated spo11 deletion homozygotes. Using crosses heteroallelic for his-3 mutations, we showed that His+ progeny are generated in spo11 deletion homozygotes at a frequency at least as high as in wild type and, as in the spo11 RIP mutants, local crossing over is not reduced. To test the latter hypothesis, we utilised mutations in either end of a histone H1-GFP fusion gene, inserted between the recombination hotspot cog and his-3, in which GFP+ spores arise as a result of recombination in a cross between the two GFP alleles. In a control cross homozygous for spo11 +, the frequency at which GFP+ spores arise is comparable to the frequency of His+ spores and glowing nuclei first appear during prophase, prior to metaphase I, as expected for a product of meiotic recombination. Similarly in spo11 deletion homozygotes, GFP+ spores arise at high frequency and glowing nuclei are first seen before metaphase, indicating that allelic recombination occurs during meiosis in the absence of spo11. We have therefore shown that spo11 is not essential for either his-3 allelic recombination or crossing over in the vicinity of his-3, and that spo11-independent allelic recombination is meiotic, indicating that there is a spo11-independent mechanism for initiation of recombination in Neurospora.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)437-444
    Number of pages8
    JournalMolecular Genetics and Genomics
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2013


    • Ascomycete
    • GFP
    • Recombination
    • spo11


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