Meiosis-specific prophase-like pathway controls cleavage-independent release of cohesin by Wapl phosphorylation

by Kiran Challa, Ghanim Fajish V, Miki Shinohara, Franz Klein, Susan M. Gasser, Akira Shinohara

Sister chromatid cohesion on chromosome arms is essential for the segregation of homologous chromosomes during meiosis I while it is dispensable for sister chromatid separation during mitosis. It was assumed that, unlike the situation in mitosis, chromosome arms retain cohesion prior to onset of anaphase-I. Paradoxically, reduced immunostaining signals of meiosis-specific cohesin, including the kleisin Rec8, were observed on chromosomes during late prophase-I of budding yeast. This decrease is seen in the absence of Rec8 cleavage and depends on condensin-mediated recruitment of Polo-like kinase (PLK/Cdc5). In this study, we confirmed that this release indeed accompanies the dissociation of acetylated Smc3 as well as Rec8 from meiotic chromosomes during late prophase-I. This release requires, in addition to PLK, the cohesin regulator, Wapl (Rad61/Wpl1 in yeast), and Dbf4-dependent Cdc7 kinase (DDK). Meiosis-specific phosphorylation of Rad61/Wpl1 and Rec8 by PLK and DDK collaboratively promote this release. This process is similar to the vertebrate “prophase” pathway for cohesin release during G2 phase and pro-metaphase. In yeast, meiotic cohesin release coincides with PLK-dependent compaction of chromosomes in late meiotic prophase-I. We suggest that yeast uses this highly regulated cleavage-independent pathway to remove cohesin during late prophase-I to facilitate morphogenesis of condensed metaphase-I chromosomes.

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