Journal of Cell Biology vol:162 issue:5 pages:795-807
We analyzed transmission of a ring minichromosome (MC) through mouse spermatogenesis as a monosome and in the presence of a homologue. Mice, either monosomic or disomic for the MC, produced MC+ offspring. In the monosomic condition, most univalents underwent self-synapsis as indicated by STAG3, SCP3, and SCP1 deposition. Fluorescent in situ hybridization and three-dimensional fluorescence microscopy revealed that ring MCs did not participate in meiotic telomere clustering while MC homologues paired at the XY-body periphery. Self-synapsis of MC(s) and association with the XY-body likely allowed them to pass putative pachytene checkpoints. At metaphase I and II, MC kinetochores assembled MAD2 and BUBR1 spindle checkpoint proteins. Unaligned MCs triggered the spindle checkpoint leading to apoptosis of metaphase cells. Other MCs frequently associated with mouse pericentric heterochromatin, which may have allowed them to pass the spindle checkpoint. Our findings indicate a telomere-independent mechanism for pairing of mammalian MCs, illuminate escape routes to meiotic checkpoints, and give clues for genetic engineering of germ line-permissive chromosomal vectors.