The murine SCP3 gene is required for synaptonemal complex assembly, chromosome synapsis, and male fertility

Mol Cell. 2000 Jan;5(1):73-83. doi: 10.1016/s1097-2765(00)80404-9.


During meiosis, the homologous chromosomes pair and recombine. An evolutionarily conserved protein structure, the synaptonemal complex (SC), is located along the paired meiotic chromosomes. We have studied the function of a structural component in the axial/lateral element of the SC, the synaptonemal complex protein 3 (SCP3). A null mutation in the SCP3 gene was generated, and we noted that homozygous mutant males were sterile due to massive apoptotic cell death during meiotic prophase. The SCP3-deficient male mice failed to form axial/lateral elements and SCs, and the chromosomes in the mutant spermatocytes did not synapse. While the absence of SCP3 affected the nuclear distribution of DNA repair and recombination proteins (Rad51 and RPA), as well as synaptonemal complex protein 1 (SCP1), a residual chromatin organization remained in the mutant meiotic cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Apoptosis
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomes / genetics
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Genomic Library
  • Infertility, Male / genetics*
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Knockout
  • Nuclear Proteins / deficiency
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Nuclear Proteins / physiology
  • Spermatocytes / pathology
  • Spermatogenesis / genetics*
  • Spermatozoa / abnormalities*
  • Spermatozoa / pathology
  • Synaptonemal Complex / genetics
  • Synaptonemal Complex / physiology*
  • Testis / pathology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Sycp3 protein, mouse