We have used polyclonal antibodies against fusion proteins produced from cDNA fragments of a meiotic chromosome core protein, Cor1, and a protein present only in the synapsed portions of the cores, Syn1, to detect the occurrence and the locations of these proteins in rodent meiotic prophase chromosomes. The 234 amino acid Cor1 protein is present in early unpaired cores, in the lateral domains of the synaptonemal complex and in the chromosome cores when they separate at diplotene. A novel observation showed the presence of Cor1 axial to the metaphase I chromosomes and substantial amounts of Cor1 in association with pairs of sister centromeres. The centromere-associated Cor1 protein becomes dissociated from the centromeres at anaphase II and it is not found in mitotic metaphase centromeres. The extended presence of Cor1 suggests that it may have a role in chromosome disjunction by fastening chiasmata at metaphase I and by joining sister kinetochores, which ensures co-segregation at anaphase I. Two-colour immunofluorescence of Cor1 and Syn1 demonstrates that synapsis between homologous cores is initiated at few sites but advances rapidly relative to the establishment of new initiation sites. If the rapid advance of synapsis deters additional initiation sites between pairs of homologues, it may provide a mechanism for positive recombination interference. Immunogold epitope mapping of antibodies to four Syn1 fusion proteins places the amino terminus of Syn1 towards the centre of the synaptonemal complex while the carboxyl terminus extends well into the lateral domain of the synaptonemal complex. The Syn1 fusion proteins have a non-specific DNA binding capacity. Immunogold labelling of Cor1 antigens indicates that the lateral domain of the synaptonemal complex is about twice as wide as the apparent width of lateral elements when stained with electron-dense metal ions. Electron microscopy of shadow-cast surface-spread SCs confirms the greater width of the lateral domain. The implication of these dimensions is that the proteins that comprise the synaptic domain overlap with the protein constituents of the lateral domains of the synaptonemal complex more than was apparent from earlier observations. This arrangement suggests that direct interactions might be expected between some of the synaptonemal complex proteins.
- © 1994 by Company of Biologists