Scott Keeney explores how cells control the timing, number, and location of the homologous recombination that occurs between chromosomes during meiosis.
Mechanism of Meiotic Recombination in Yeast and Mouse
Meiosis is the specialized division that generates reproductive cells (sperm or eggs in mammals; spores in yeast). During the prophase stage of the first meiotic division, recombination connects homologous chromosomes together, and these connections are essential for accurate chromosome segregation at the first division. Meiotic recombination proceeds through the formation and repair of DNA double-strand breaks made by the Spo11 protein. These self-inflicted DNA lesions, if unrepaired, would have lethal consequences for genome stability, making it important for the cell to carefully control when and where breaks are made and how they are repaired. My laboratory is interested in understanding how Spo11 works, how its activity is controlled so that it cuts DNA only when and where it is supposed to, and how cells respond when there are problems in either making or repairing breaks. Our studies focus on these topics in both budding yeast and mouse.