Lateral element cross connections of the synaptonemal complex and their relationship to chiasmata in rat spermatocytes

Can J Genet Cytol. 1978 Dec;20(4):567-79. doi: 10.1139/g78-066.


Observations are presented in support of the hypothesis that at meiotic prophase a reciprocal crossover is accompanied by a crossover of the lateral elements of the synaptonemal complex, SC (Moens, 1974). Rat spermatocyte nuclei in developmental stage VII (Clermont, 1972) of the seminiferous epithelium cycle, but not pachytene nuclei in stages I to VI, were found to have SC modifications in the form of a cross connection between the lateral elements. In structure these crossover elements, CO elements, resemble the lateral element. It is found in a variety of positions, usually more or less perpendicular to the SC but also slanted or parallel along the central element or detached from the SC. Reconstructions of entire nuclei indicate an average of one such CO element per SC and a nonrandom distribution of CO elements among the SCs. Because the crossing-over of lateral elements produces a 180 degree twist or removes a 180 degree twist, the pattern of SC coiling was examined. Coiling starts in early pachytene prior to CO element formation. At stage VII one nucleus had a total of 78 coils, all counter clockwise, and another nucleus had 97 such 180 degree coils. It is noted that if SC coils are associated with the process of crossing-over, then the regulation of crossover distribution such as chiasma position interference has an explanation in the structure and behavior of the SC.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Nucleus / ultrastructure
  • Chromosomes / ultrastructure
  • Crossing Over, Genetic*
  • Male
  • Meiosis*
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Rats
  • Spermatocytes / ultrastructure*
  • Spermatozoa / ultrastructure*