Molecular mechanisms of homologous chromosome pairing and segregation in plants

J Genet Genomics. 2014 Mar 20;41(3):117-23. doi: 10.1016/j.jgg.2013.12.003. Epub 2013 Dec 18.


In most eukaryotic species, three basic steps of pairing, recombination and synapsis occur during prophase of meiosis I. Homologous chromosomal pairing and recombination are essential for accurate segregation of chromosomes. In contrast to the well-studied processes such as recombination and synapsis, many aspects of chromosome pairing are still obscure. Recent progress in several species indicates that the telomere bouquet formation can facilitate homologous chromosome pairing by bringing chromosome ends into close proximity, but the sole presence of telomere clustering is not sufficient for recognizing homologous pairs. On the other hand, accurate segregation of the genetic material from parent to offspring during meiosis is dependent on the segregation of homologs in the reductional meiotic division (MI) with sister kinetochores exhibiting mono-orientation from the same pole, and the segregation of sister chromatids during the equational meiotic division (MII) with kinetochores showing bi-orientation from the two poles. The underlying mechanism of orientation and segregation is still unclear. Here we focus on recent studies in plants and other species that provide insight into how chromosomes find their partners and mechanisms mediating chromosomal segregation.

Keywords: Homologous chromosome pairing; Meiosis; Orientation and segregation.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Centromere / physiology
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Chromosome Pairing*
  • Chromosome Segregation*
  • Chromosomes, Plant / genetics*
  • Homologous Recombination / genetics*
  • Meiosis / physiology
  • Microtubules / metabolism
  • Plants / genetics*
  • RNA, Untranslated / metabolism
  • Telomere / physiology


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • RNA, Untranslated
  • cohesins