HEI10 coarsening, chromatin and sequence polymorphism shape the plant meiotic recombination landscape.

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Meiosis is a conserved eukaryotic cell division that produces spores required for sexual reproduction. During meiosis, chromosomes pair and undergo programmed DNA double-strand breaks, followed by homologous repair that can result in reciprocal crossovers. Crossover formation is highly regulated with typically few events per homolog pair. Crossovers additionally show wider spacing than expected from uniformly random placement – defining the phenomenon of interference. In plants, the conserved HEI10 E3 ligase is initially loaded along meiotic chromosomes, before maturing into a small number of foci, corresponding to crossover locations. We review the coarsening model that explains these dynamics as a diffusion and aggregation process, resulting in approximately evenly spaced HEI10 foci. We review how underlying chromatin states, and the presence of interhomolog polymorphisms, shape the meiotic recombination landscape, in light of the coarsening model. Finally, we consider future directions to understand the control of meiotic recombination in plant genomes.