The role of AtMUS81 in interference-insensitive crossovers in A. thaliana

PLoS Genet. 2007 Aug;3(8):e132. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.0030132. Epub 2007 Jun 26.


MUS81 is conserved among plants, animals, and fungi and is known to be involved in mitotic DNA damage repair and meiotic recombination. Here we present a functional characterization of the Arabidopsis thaliana homolog AtMUS81, which has a role in both mitotic and meiotic cells. The AtMUS81 transcript is produced in all tissues, but is elevated greater than 9-fold in the anthers and its levels are increased in response to gamma radiation and methyl methanesulfonate treatment. An Atmus81 transfer-DNA insertion mutant shows increased sensitivity to a wide range of DNA-damaging agents, confirming its role in mitotically proliferating cells. To examine its role in meiosis, we employed a pollen tetrad-based visual assay. Data from genetic intervals on Chromosomes 1 and 3 show that Atmus81 mutants have a moderate decrease in meiotic recombination. Importantly, measurements of recombination in a pair of adjacent intervals on Chromosome 5 demonstrate that the remaining crossovers in Atmus81 are interference sensitive, and that interference levels in the Atmus81 mutant are significantly greater than those in wild type. These data are consistent with the hypothesis that AtMUS81 is involved in a secondary subset of meiotic crossovers that are interference insensitive.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Arabidopsis / genetics*
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / genetics
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / isolation & purification
  • Arabidopsis Proteins / physiology*
  • Carcinogens / pharmacology
  • Cell Survival
  • Crossing Over, Genetic / physiology*
  • DNA Damage / physiology
  • Endonucleases / genetics
  • Endonucleases / isolation & purification
  • Endonucleases / physiology*
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant / drug effects
  • Meiosis / genetics
  • Mutagenesis, Insertional
  • Mutant Proteins / physiology
  • Plants, Genetically Modified
  • Pollen / cytology
  • Pollen / genetics
  • Recombination, Genetic


  • Arabidopsis Proteins
  • Carcinogens
  • Mutant Proteins
  • Endonucleases
  • MUS81 protein, Arabidopsis