Meiotic telomere protein Ndj1p is required for meiosis-specific telomere distribution, bouquet formation and efficient homologue pairing
We have investigated the requirements for NDJ1 in meiotic telomere redistribution and clustering in synchronized cultures of Saccharomyces cerevisiae. On induction of wild-type meiosis, telomeres disperse from premeiotic aggregates over the nuclear periphery, and then cluster near the spindle pole body (bouquet arrangement) before dispersing again. In ndj1Δ meiocytes, telomeres are scattered throughout the nucleus and fail to form perinuclear meiosis-specific distribution patterns, suggesting that Ndj1p may function to tether meiotic telomeres to the nuclear periphery. Since ndj1Δ meiocytes fail to cluster their telomeres at any prophase stage, Ndj1p is the first protein shown to be required for bouquet formation in a synaptic organism. Analysis of homologue pairing by two-color fluorescence in situ hybridization with cosmid probes to regions on III, IX, and XI revealed that disruption of bouquet formation is associated with a significant delay (>2 h) of homologue pairing. An increased and persistent fraction of ndj1Δ meiocytes with Zip1p polycomplexes suggests that chromosome polarization is important for synapsis progression. Thus, our observations support the hypothesis that meiotic telomere clustering contributes to efficient homologue alignment and synaptic pairing. Under naturally occurring conditions, bouquet formation may allow for rapid sporulation and confer a selective advantage.