Whereas proliferating cells enter M phase shortly after DNA replication, the first M phase of meiosis is preceded by an extended prophase in which homologous chromosomes undergo recombination. Exit from prophase I is controlled by the recombination checkpoint (RC), which, in yeast, represses the meiosis-specific transcription factor Ndt80 required for the expression of B-type cyclins and other M phase regulators. We show that an extended prophase I additionally requires the suppression of latent, mitotic cell-cycle controls by the anaphase-promoting complex (APC/C) and its meiosis-specific activator Ama1, which trigger the degradation of M phase regulators and Ndd1, a subunit of a mitotic transcription factor. ama1Δ mutants exit from prophase I prematurely and independently of the RC, which results in recombination defects and chromosome missegregation. Thus, control of prophase I by meiotic mechanisms depends on the suppression of the alternative, mitotic mechanisms by a meiosis-specific form of the APC/C.
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