Cohesin Removal along the Chromosome Arms during the First Meiotic Division Depends on a NEK1-PP1γ-WAPL Axis in the Mouse

Cell Rep. 2016 Oct 18;17(4):977-986. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2016.09.059.


Mammalian NIMA-like kinase-1 (NEK1) is a dual-specificity kinase highly expressed in mouse germ cells during prophase I of meiosis. Loss of NEK1 induces retention of cohesin on chromosomes at meiotic prophase I. Timely deposition and removal of cohesin is essential for accurate chromosome segregation. Two processes regulate cohesin removal: a non-proteolytic mechanism involving WAPL, sororin, and PDS5B and direct cleavage by separase. Here, we demonstrate a role for NEK1 in the regulation of WAPL loading during meiotic prophase I, via an interaction between NEK1 and PDS5B. This regulation of WAPL by NEK1-PDS5B is mediated by protein phosphatase 1 gamma (PP1γ), which both interacts with and is a phosphotarget of NEK1. Taken together, our results reveal that NEK1 phosphorylates PP1γ, leading to the dephosphorylation of WAPL, which, in turn, results in its retention on chromosome cores to promote loss of cohesion at the end of prophase I in mammals.

Keywords: NIMA-like kinase; WAPL; cohesin; meiosis; mouse; prophase pathway.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism*
  • Chromatids / metabolism*
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism*
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Meiosis*
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Mutant Strains
  • Models, Biological
  • NIMA-Related Kinase 1 / metabolism*
  • Phenotype
  • Phosphorylation
  • Protein Phosphatase 1 / metabolism*
  • Proteins / metabolism*
  • Signal Transduction
  • Spermatozoa / metabolism


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Proteins
  • WAPL protein, mouse
  • cohesins
  • NIMA-Related Kinase 1
  • Nek1 protein, mouse
  • Protein Phosphatase 1