xnd-1 Regulates the Global Recombination Landscape in C. elegans

Author/Creator ORCID





Citation of Original Publication

Cynthia R. Wagner, Lynnette Kuervers, David Baillie, and Judith L. Yanowitz, xnd-1 Regulates the Global Recombination Landscape in C. elegans, Nature. 2010 Oct 14; 467(7317): 839–843. doi: 10.1038/nature09429


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Meiotic crossover (CO) recombination establishes physical linkages between homologous chromosomes that are required for their proper segregation into developing gametes and promotes genetic diversity by shuffling genetic material between parental chromosomes. COs require the formation of double strand breaks (DSBs) to create the substrate for strand exchange. DSBs occur in small intervals called hotspots1-3 and significant variation in hotspot usage exists between and among individuals4. This variation is thought to reflect differences in sequence identity and chromatin structure, DNA topology and/ or chromosome domain organization1, 5-9. Chromosomes show different frequencies of nondisjunction (NDJ)10, reflecting inherent differences in meiotic crossover control, yet the underlying basis of these differences remains elusive. Here we show that a novel chromatin factor, X non-disjunction factor 1 (xnd-1), is responsible for the global distribution of COs in C. elegans. xnd-1 is also required for formation of double-strand breaks (DSBs) on the X, but surprisingly XND-1 protein is autosomally-enriched. We show that xnd-1 functions independently of genes required for X chromosome-specific gene silencing, revealing a novel pathway that distinguishes the X from autosomes in the germ line, and further show that xnd-1 exerts its effects on COs, at least in part, by modulating levels of H2A lysine 5 acetylation.