Chromosome-associated RNA-protein complexes promote pairing of homologous chromosomes during meiosis in Schizosaccharomyces pombe

Nat Commun. 2019 Dec 6;10(1):5598. doi: 10.1038/s41467-019-13609-0.


Pairing of homologous chromosomes in meiosis is essential for sexual reproduction. We have previously demonstrated that the fission yeast sme2 RNA, a meiosis-specific long noncoding RNA (lncRNA), accumulates at the sme2 chromosomal loci and mediates their robust pairing in meiosis. However, the mechanisms underlying lncRNA-mediated homologous pairing have remained elusive. In this study, we identify conserved RNA-binding proteins that are required for robust pairing of homologous chromosomes. These proteins accumulate mainly at the sme2 and two other chromosomal loci together with meiosis-specific lncRNAs transcribed from these loci. Remarkably, the chromosomal accumulation of these lncRNA-protein complexes is required for robust pairing. Moreover, the lncRNA-protein complexes exhibit phase separation properties, since 1,6-hexanediol treatment reversibly disassembled these complexes and disrupted the pairing of associated loci. We propose that lncRNA-protein complexes assembled at specific chromosomal loci mediate recognition and subsequent pairing of homologous chromosomes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Chromosome Pairing / physiology*
  • Chromosomes, Fungal / metabolism*
  • Meiosis / physiology*
  • RNA, Long Noncoding / metabolism
  • RNA-Binding Proteins / metabolism*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / genetics*
  • Schizosaccharomyces / physiology
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins / metabolism


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • RNA, Long Noncoding
  • RNA-Binding Proteins
  • Schizosaccharomyces pombe Proteins