During the course of meiotic prophase, intrinsic double-strand breaks (DSBs) must be repaired before the cell can engage in meiotic nuclear division. Here we investigate the mechanism that controls the meiotic progression in Schizosaccharomyces pombe that have accumulated excess meiotic DSBs. A meiotic recombination-defective mutant, meu13Delta, shows a delay in meiotic progression. This delay is dependent on rec12+, namely on DSB formation. Pulsed-field gel electrophoresis analysis revealed that meiotic DSB repair in meu13Delta was retarded. We also found that the delay in entering nuclear division was dependent on the checkpoint rad+, cds1+ and mek1+ (the meiotic paralog of Cds1/Chk2). This implies that these genes are involved in a checkpoint that provides time to repair DSBs. Consistently, the induction of an excess of extrinsic DSBs by ionizing radiation delayed meiotic progression in a rad17(+)-dependent manner. dmc1Delta also shows meiotic delay, however, this delay is independent of rec12+ and checkpoint rad+. We propose that checkpoint monitoring of the status of meiotic DSB repair exists in fission yeast and that defects other than DSB accumulation can cause delays in meiotic progression.
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