pcarlton -at- icems.kyoto-u.ac.jp
To create haploid gamete cells (sperm or egg cells) from diploid precursors in meiosis, homologous chromosomes must pair, recombine, and then separate from each other, reducing the genome by half.
Recombination between homologous chromosomes is initiated in meiotic prophase by programmed DNA double-strand breaks; these breaks are then repaired through homologous recombination, giving rise to genetic crossovers that link homologous chromosomes until they divide.
Using the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, we are working to determine the molecular mechanisms of recombination initiation and repair in the context of chromosome dynamics, combining molecular genetics, biochemistry and cytology with high-resolution microscopy and quantitative image analysis. Since errors during meiosis are common in humans and can lead to infertility and developmental defects, understanding these mechanisms is important for achieving improvements in human reproductive health.
Our current research focuses on the following areas:
- Understanding mechanisms of chromosome dynamics and regulation during meiosis
- Phosphoregulation of the synaptonemal complex
- Analysis of chromosome structures using super-resolution microscopy