Dr. Terry Orr-Weaver and colleagues (MIT & Nagasaki University School of Medicine) present the first genetic analysis of the recently identified nucleosomal histone kinase, NHK-1. The authors generated NHK-1-mutant Drosophila fruit flies, and through cytological analysis of the resulting sterile female oocytes, determined that this histone kinase is necessary for disassembly of the synaptonemal complex, condensin loading, and the further acetylation of histones H3 and H4.
This work provides novel evidence of the importance of histone modifications in regulating meiotic chromosome dynamics. "This work demonstrates a crucial function for modification of the histone proteins in the architectural changes chromosomes undergo in meiosis.
Modification of the chromatin proteins tightly associated with the DNA ensures the proper segregation of chromosomes in meiosis and thus prevention of miscarriages and birth defects," explains Dr. Orr-Weaver.
Heather Cosel | EurekAlert!
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