Analysis of male meiotic "sex body" proteins during XY female meiosis provides new insights into their functions

Chromosoma. 2000 Sep;109(6):426-32. doi: 10.1007/s004120000097.


During male meiosis in mammals the X and Y chromosomes become condensed to form the sex body (XY body), which is the morphological manifestation of the process of meiotic sex chromosome inactivation (MSCI). An increasing number of sex body located proteins are being identified, but their functions in relation to MSCI are unclear. Here we demonstrate that assaying male sex body located proteins during XY female mouse meiosis, where MSCI does not take place, is one way in which to begin to discriminate between potential functions. We show that a newly identified protein, "Asynaptin" (ASY), detected in male meiosis exclusively in association with the X and Y chromatin of the sex body, is also expressed in pachytene oocytes of XY females where it coats the chromatin of the asynapsed X in the absence of MSCI. Furthermore, in pachytene oocytes of females carrying a reciprocal autosomal translocation, ASY associates with asynapsed autosomal chromatin. Thus the location of ASY to the sex body during male meiosis is likely to be a response to the asynapsis of the non-homologous regions [outside the pseudoautosomal region (PAR)] of the heteromorphic X-Y bivalent, rather than being related to MSCI. In contrast to ASY, the previously described sex body protein XY77 proved to be male sex body specific. Potential functions for MSCI and the sex body are discussed together with the possible roles of these two proteins.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism*
  • DNA-Binding Proteins / genetics
  • Female
  • Male
  • Meiosis*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred Strains
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Nuclear Proteins*
  • Proteins / immunology
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Sex-Determining Region Y Protein
  • Testis / immunology
  • Testis / metabolism
  • Transcription Factors*
  • X Chromosome*
  • Y Chromosome*


  • Chromatin
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Proteins
  • Sex-Determining Region Y Protein
  • Transcription Factors