Plant Meiosis pp 181-196 | Cite as

Surface Spreading Technique in Plant Meiocytes for Analysis of Synaptonemal Complex by Electron Microscopy

  • Nieves CuñadoEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 2061)


An improved method of preparing two-dimensional surface spreads of synaptonemal complexes (SCs) in higher plants for examination by electron microscopy is described. This protocol produces clear, well-spread preparations of SCs and unpaired axial cores from a range of meiotic prophase I stages (leptotene to pachytene) from meiocytes of different plant species. Synaptonemal complex (SC) analyses have been widely used in plant cytogenetic studies to address the process of meiotic chromosome synapses, because of the high-resolution allowed by electron microscopy. Although the real role of SC is still enigmatic, its presence and structural conservation in the vast majority of organisms reflect the importance of this protein structure in the meiotic process.

Key words

Meiosis Synaptonemal complex Surface spreading Silver staining Electron microscopy 



The author is very grateful for the contributions to synaptonemal complex research from former and current lab members, especially Juan Luís Santos and Mónica Pradillo. The author’s research has been supported by several grants from the Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovación y Universidades of Spain and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid-Banco Santander of Spain (Grant number 910452).


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de Genética, Fisiología y Microbiología, Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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