The ubiquitin proteasome system regulates meiotic recombination in yeast through its association with the synaptonemal complex, a 'zipper'-like structure that holds homologous chromosome pairs in synapsis during meiotic prophase I. In mammals, the proteasome activator subunit PA200 targets acetylated histones for degradation during somatic DNA double strand break repair and during histone replacement during spermiogenesis. We investigated the role of the testis-specific proteasomal subunit α4s (PSMA8) during spermatogenesis, and found that PSMA8 was localized to and dependent on the central region of the synaptonemal complex. Accordingly, synapsis-deficient mice show delocalization of PSMA8. Moreover, though Psma8-deficient mice are proficient in meiotic homologous recombination, there are alterations in the proteostasis of several key meiotic players that, in addition to the known substrate acetylated histones, have been shown by a proteomic approach to interact with PSMA8, such as SYCP3, SYCP1, CDK1 and TRIP13. These alterations lead to an accumulation of spermatocytes in metaphase I and II which either enter massively into apoptosis or give rise to a low number of aberrant round spermatids that apoptose before histone replacement takes place.