Un ménage à quatre: the molecular biology of chromosome segregation in meiosis

Cell. 2003 Feb 21;112(4):423-40. doi: 10.1016/s0092-8674(03)00083-7.


Sexually reproducing organisms rely on the precise reduction of chromosome number during a specialized cell division called meiosis. Whereas mitosis produces diploid daughter cells from diploid cells, meiosis generates haploid gametes from diploid precursors. The molecular mechanisms controlling chromosome transmission during both divisions have started to be delineated. This review focuses on the four fundamental differences between mitotic and meiotic chromosome segregation that allow the ordered reduction of chromosome number in meiosis: (1) reciprocal recombination and formation of chiasmata between homologous chromosomes, (2) suppression of sister kinetochore biorientation, (3) protection of centromeric cohesion, and (4) inhibition of DNA replication between the two meiotic divisions.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anaphase
  • Animals
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Chromosome Segregation
  • Kinetochores / ultrastructure*
  • Meiosis*
  • Mitosis*
  • Models, Biological
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism
  • Recombination, Genetic
  • Saccharomyces cerevisiae / physiology


  • Chromatin
  • Aurora Kinases
  • Protein Serine-Threonine Kinases