Shugoshin is essential for meiotic prophase checkpoints in C. elegans
The conserved factor Shugoshin is dispensable in C. elegans for the two-step loss of sister chromatid cohesion that directs the proper segregation of meiotic chromosomes. We show that the C. elegans ortholog of Shugoshin, SGO-1, is required for checkpoint activity in meiotic prophase. This role in checkpoint function is similar to that of the meiotic chromosomal protein, HTP-3. Null sgo-1 mutants exhibit additional phenotypes similar to that of a partial loss of function allele of HTP-3:
... le of HTP-3: premature synaptonemal complex disassembly, the activation of alternate DNA repair pathways and an inability to recruit a conserved effector of the DNA damage pathway, HUS-1. SGO-1 localizes to pre-meiotic nuclei, when HTP-3 is present but not yet loaded onto chromosome axes, suggesting an early role in regulating meiotic chromosome metabolism. We propose that SGO-1 acts during pre-meiotic replication to ensure fully functional meiotic chromosome architecture, rendering these chromosomes competent for checkpoint activity and normal progression of meiotic recombination. Given that most research on Shugoshin has been focused on its regulation of sister chromatid cohesion in meiosis, this novel role may be conserved but previously uncharacterized in other organisms. Further, our findings expand the repertoire of Shugoshin functions beyond coordinating regulatory activities at the centromere.