The molecular events of recombination are thought to be catalyzed by proteins present in recombination nodules (RNs). Therefore, studying RN structure and function should give insights into the processes by which meiotic recombination is regulated in eukaryotes. Two types of RNs have been identified so far, early (ENs) and late (LNs). ENs appear at leptotene and persist into early pachytene while LNs appear in pachytene and remain into early diplotene. ENs and LNs can be distinguished not only on their time of appearance, but also by such characteristics as shape and size, relative numbers, and association with unsynapsed and/or synapsed chromosomal segments. The function(s) of ENs is not clear, but they may have a role in searching for DNA homology, synapsis, gene conversion and/or crossing over. LNs are well correlated with crossing over. Here, the patterns of ENs and LNs during prophase I in plants are reviewed.
Copyright 2005 S. Karger AG, Basel.