The Synaptonemal Complex Protein ZYP1 Is Required for Imposition of Meiotic Crossovers in Barley

Abdellah Barakate, James D. Higgins, Sebastian Vivera, Jennifer Stephens, Ruth M. Perry, Luke Ramsay, Isabelle Colas, Helena Oakey, Robbie Waugh, F. Chris H. Franklin, Susan J. Armstrong, Claire Halpin (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    62 Citations (Scopus)


    In many cereal crops, meiotic crossovers predominantly occur toward the ends of chromosomes and 30 to 50% of genes rarely recombine. This limits the exploitation of genetic variation by plant breeding. Previous reports demonstrate that chiasma frequency can be manipulated in plants by depletion of the synaptonemal complex protein ZIPPER1 (ZYP1) but conflict as to the direction of change, with fewer chiasmata reported in Arabidopsis thaliana and more crossovers reported for rice (Oryza sativa). Here, we use RNA interference (RNAi) to reduce the amount of ZYP1 in barley (Hordeum vulgare) to only 2 to 17% of normal zygotene levels. In the ZYP1(RNAi) lines, fewer than half of the chromosome pairs formed bivalents at metaphase and many univalents were observed, leading to chromosome nondisjunction and semisterility. The number of chiasmata per cell was reduced from 14 in control plants to three to four in the ZYP1-depleted lines, although the localization of residual chiasmata was not affected. DNA double-strand break formation appeared normal, but the recombination pathway was defective at later stages. A meiotic time course revealed a 12-h delay in prophase I progression to the first labeled tetrads. Barley ZYP1 appears to function similarly to ZIP1/ZYP1 in yeast and Arabidopsis, with an opposite effect on crossover number to ZEP1 in rice, another member of the Poaceae.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)729-740
    Number of pages12
    JournalThe Plant Cell
    Issue number2
    Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


    • Chromosomes, Plant
    • Crossing Over, Genetic
    • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
    • Gene Expression Regulation, Plant
    • Gene Knockdown Techniques
    • Hordeum
    • Meiosis
    • Meiotic Prophase I
    • Molecular Sequence Data
    • Nondisjunction, Genetic
    • Phylogeny
    • Plant Proteins
    • Plants, Genetically Modified
    • RNA Interference
    • RNA, Messenger
    • Synaptonemal Complex
    • Time Factors


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