Irregular telomeres impair meiotic synapsis and recombination in mice

Lin Liu, Sonia Franco, Barbara Spyropoulos, Peter B. Moens, Maria A. Blasco, David L. Keefe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

114 Scopus citations


Telomere shortening can lead to chromosome instability, replicative senescence, and apoptosis in both somatic and male germ cells. To study roles for mammalian telomeres in homologous pairing and recombination, we characterized effects of telomere shortening on spermatogenesis and oogenesis in late-generation telomerase-deficient mice. We show that shortened telomeres of late-generation telomerase-deficient mice impair meiotic synapsis and decrease recombination, in particular, in females. In response to telomere shortening, male germ cells mostly undergo apoptosis, whereas female germ cells preferentially arrest in early meiosis, suggesting sexually dimorphic surveillance mechanisms for telomere dysfunction during meiosis in mice. Further, meiocytes of late-generation telomerase-deficient females with shortened telomeres, bred with early-generation males harboring relatively long telomeres, exhibit severely impaired chromosome pairing and synapsis and reduced meiotic recombination. These findings imply that functional telomeres are important in mammalian meiotic synapsis and recombination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)6496-6501
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number17
StatePublished - Apr 27 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Meiosis
  • Mouse
  • Oocytes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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