The molecular control of meiotic chromosomal behavior: events in early meiotic prophase in Drosophila oocytes

Annu Rev Physiol. 2012;74:425-51. doi: 10.1146/annurev-physiol-020911-153342.


We review the critical events in early meiotic prophase in Drosophila melanogaster oocytes. We focus on four aspects of this process: the formation of the synaptonemal complex (SC) and its role in maintaining homologous chromosome pairings, the critical roles of the meiosis-specific process of centromere clustering in the formation of a full-length SC, the mechanisms by which preprogrammed double-strand breaks initiate meiotic recombination, and the checkpoints that govern the progression and coordination of these processes. Central to this discussion are the roles that somatic pairing events play in establishing the necessary conditions for proper SC formation, the roles of centromere pairing in synapsis initiation, and the mechanisms by which oocytes detect failures in SC formation and/or recombination. Finally, we correlate what is known in Drosophila oocytes with our understanding of these processes in other systems.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / physiology
  • Centromere / physiology
  • Chromosome Pairing / physiology
  • Chromosomes / physiology*
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • DNA Damage
  • Drosophila / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • Meiotic Prophase I / physiology*
  • Oocytes / growth & development
  • Oocytes / physiology*
  • Pachytene Stage / physiology
  • Synaptonemal Complex / physiology
  • Telomere / physiology