Localization of the N-terminus of SCP1 to the central element of the synaptonemal complex and evidence for direct interactions between the N-termini of SCP1 molecules organized head-to-head

Exp Cell Res. 1996 Jul 10;226(1):11-9. doi: 10.1006/excr.1996.0197.


The synaptonemal complex (SC) is a meiosis-specific, tripartite structure essential for synapsis of homologous chromosomes; it contains a central element positioned between two lateral elements and transversal filaments connecting the lateral elements. In mammals, a major constituent of the transversal filament is known: the SCP1 protein. It contains a long central coiled-coil motif and the molecules are probably organized as dimers, each forming a coiled-coil fiber. We have now developed a new sensitive procedure for immunoelectron microscopy of synaptonemal complex proteins and determined the exact localization of the two nonhelical ends of the SCP1 protein within the mouse synaptonemal complex. We found that the N-terminal end of the SCP1 protein is located within the central element of the synaptonemal complex, whereas the C-terminal end is close to or within the lateral element of the synaptonemal complex. This result supports the notion that SCP1 is an extended filamentous protein and that the two molecules of the putative SCP1 dimer are likely to have the same polarity. The observation that the N-termini are confined to the central element indicated that SCP1 dimers, anchored in opposite lateral elements, could establish contact with each other in the central element via their N-termini. To test this possibility we used the yeast two-hybrid system and found that the N-terminal end of the SCP1 protein indeed strongly interacted with itself, but not with other protein domains tested. We therefore suggest that a transversal filament consists of one or more pairs of SCP1 dimers, each pair being organized in a head-to-head arrangement with the C-termini anchored in the lateral elements and the two N-termini being joined in the central element.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antibody Specificity
  • Base Sequence
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Cells, Cultured / chemistry
  • Cells, Cultured / ultrastructure
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Female
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Immunoblotting
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred BALB C
  • Microscopy, Immunoelectron / methods
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Nuclear Proteins / analysis
  • Nuclear Proteins / chemistry*
  • Nuclear Proteins / immunology
  • Protein Structure, Tertiary
  • Rabbits
  • Rats
  • Synaptonemal Complex / immunology*
  • Testis / cytology
  • Yeasts / chemistry


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • DNA-Binding Proteins
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Sycp1 protein, mouse
  • Sycp1 protein, rat
  • Sycp3 protein, mouse
  • Sycp3 protein, rat