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Molecular Biology of the Cell


Cohesion between sister chromatids is a prerequisite for accurate chromosome segregation during mitosis and meiosis. To allow chromosome condensation during prophase, the connections that hold sister chromatids together must be maintained but still permit extensive chromatin compaction. In Drosophila, null mutations in the orientation disruptor (ord) gene lead to meiotic nondisjunction in males and females because cohesion is absent by the time that sister kinetochores make stable microtubule attachments. We provide evidence that ORD is concentrated within the extrachromosomal domains of the nuclei ofDrosophila primary spermatocytes during early G2, but accumulates on the meiotic chromosomes by mid to late G2. Moreover, using fluorescence in situ hybridization to monitor cohesion directly, we show that cohesion defects first become detectable inordnull spermatocytes shortly after the time when wild-type ORD associates with the chromosomes. After condensation, ORD remains bound at the centromeres of wild-type spermatocytes and persists there until centromeric cohesion is released during anaphase II. Our results suggest that association of ORD with meiotic chromosomes during mid to late G2 is required to maintain sister-chromatid cohesion during prophase condensation and that retention of ORD at the centromeres after condensation ensures the maintenance of centromeric cohesion until anaphase II.