Saito TT, Tougan T, Okuzaki D, Kasama T, Nojima H

J Cell Sci. 2005 Jan 15;118(Pt 2):447–59

We report here that a meiosis-specific gene of Schizosaccharomyces pombe denoted mcp6+ (meiotic coiled-coil protein) encodes a protein that isrequired for the horsetail movement of chromosomes at meiosis I. The mcp6+ gene is specifically transcribed during the horsetail phase. Green fluorescent protein (GFP)-tagged Mcp6 appears at the start of karyogamy, localizes to the spindle-pole body (SPB) and then disappears before chromosome segregation at meiosis I. In the mcp6Delta strain, the horsetail movement was either hampered (zygotic meiosis) or abolished (azygotic meiosis) and the pairing of homologous chromosomes was impaired. Accordingly, the allelic recombination rates of the mcp6Delta strain were only 10-40% of the wild-type rates. By contrast, the ectopic recombination rate of the mcp6Delta strain was twice the wild-type rate. This is probably caused by abnormal homologous pairing in mcp6Delta cells because of aberrant horsetail movement. Fluorescent microscopy indicates that SPB components such as Sad1, Kms1 and Spo15 localize normally in mcp6Delta cells. Because Taz1 and Swi6 also localized with Sad1 in mcp6Delta cells, Mcp6 is not required for telomere clustering. In a taz1Delta strain, which does not display telomere clustering, and the dhc1-d3 mutant, which lacks horsetail movement, Mcp6 localized with Sad1 normally. However, we observed abnormal astral microtubule organization in mcp6Delta cells. From these results, we conclude that Mcp6 is necessary for neither SPB organization nor telomere clustering, but is required for proper astral microtubule positioning to maintain horsetail movement.