Kinetochores, cohesin, and DNA breaks: Controlling meiotic recombination within pericentromeres

Lisa-Marie Kuhl, Gerben Vader

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


In meiosis, DNA break formation and repair are essential for the formation of crossovers between homologous chromosomes. Without crossover formation, faithful meiotic chromosome segregation and sexual reproduction cannot occur. Crossover formation is initiated by the programmed, meiosis-specific introduction of numerous DNA double-strand breaks, after which specific repair pathways promote recombination between homologous chromosomes. Despite its crucial nature, meiotic recombination is fraud with danger: When positioned or repaired inappropriately, DNA breaks can have catastrophic consequences on genome stability of the resulting gametes. As such, DNA break formation and repair needs to be carefully controlled. Within centromeres and surrounding regions (i.e., pericentromeres), meiotic crossover recombination is repressed in organisms ranging from yeast to humans, and a failure to do so is implicated in chromosome missegregation and developmental aneuploidy. (Peri)centromere sequence identity and organization diverge considerably across eukaryotes, yet suppression of meiotic DNA break formation and repair appear universal. Here, we discuss emerging work that has used budding and fission yeast systems to study the mechanisms underlying pericentromeric suppression of DNA break formation and repair. We particularly highlight a role for the kinetochore, a universally conserved, centromere-associated structure essential for chromosome segregation, in suppressing (peri)centromeric DNA break formation and repair. We discuss the current understanding of kinetochore-associated and chromosomal factors involved in this regulation and suggest future avenues of research.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-127
Number of pages7
JournalYeast (Chichester, England)
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Cell Cycle Proteins/metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone/metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA Repair
  • DNA, Fungal/metabolism
  • Kinetochores/metabolism
  • Meiosis
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Yeasts/physiology
  • Cohesins


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