The impact of entropy on the spatial organization of synaptonemal complexes within the cell nucleus.

Document Type


Publication Date


JAX Source

PLoS One 2012; 7(5):e36282.




We employ 4Pi-microscopy to study SC organization in mouse spermatocyte nuclei allowing for the three-dimensional reconstruction of the SC's backbone arrangement. Additionally, we model the SCs in the cell nucleus by confined, self-avoiding polymers, whose chain ends are attached to the envelope of the confining cavity and diffuse along it. This work helps to elucidate the role of entropy in shaping pachytene SC organization. The framework provided by the complex interplay between SC polymer rigidity, tethering and confinement is able to qualitatively explain features of SC organization, such as mean squared end-to-end distances, mean squared center-of-mass distances, or SC density distributions. However, it fails in correctly assessing SC entanglement within the nucleus. In fact, our analysis of the 4Pi-microscopy images reveals a higher ordering of SCs within the nuclear volume than what is expected by our numerical model. This suggests that while effects of entropy impact SC organization, the dedicated action of proteins or actin cables is required to fine-tune the spatial ordering of SCs within the cell nucleus.