Author(s): Miyazaki WY, OrrWeaver TL
In Drosophila males and females mutant for the ord gene, sister chromatids prematurely disjoin in meiosis. We have isolated five new alleles of ord and analyzed them both as homozygotes and in trans to deficiencies for the locus, and we show that ord function is necessary early in meiosis of both sexes. Strong ord alleles result in chromosome nondisjunction in meiosis I that appears to be the consequence of precocious separation of the sister chromatids followed by their random segregation. Cytological analysis in males confirmed that precocious disjunction of the sister chromatids occurs in prometaphase I. This is in contrast to Drosophila mei-S332 mutants, in which precocious sister-chromatid separation also occurs, but not until late in anaphase I. All three of the new female fertile ord alleles reduce recombination, suggesting they affect homolog association as well as sister-chromatid cohesion. In addition to the effect of ord mutations on meiosis, we find that in ord2 mutants chromosome segregation is aberrant in the mitotic divisions that produce the spermatocytes. The strongest ord alleles, ord2 and ord5, appear to cause defects in germline divisions in the female. These alleles are female sterile and produce egg chambers with altered nurse cell number, size, and nuclear morphology. In contrast to the effects of ord mutations on germline mitosis, all of the alleles are fully viable even when in trans to a deficiency, and thus exhibit no essential role in somatic mitosis. The ord gene product may prevent premature sister-chromatid separation by promoting cohesion of the sister chromatids in a structural or regulatory manner.