A high throughput genetic screen identifies new early meiotic recombination functions in Arabidopsis thaliana.
ABSTRACT: Meiotic recombination is initiated by the formation of numerous DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) catalysed by the widely conserved Spo11 protein. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Spo11 requires nine other proteins for meiotic DSB formation; however, unlike Spo11, few of these are conserved across kingdoms. In order to investigate this recombination step in higher eukaryotes, we took advantage of a high-throughput meiotic mutant screen carried out in the model plant Arabidopsis thaliana. A collection of 55,000 mutant lines was screened, and spo11-like mutations, characterised by a drastic decrease in chiasma formation at metaphase I associated with an absence of synapsis at prophase, were selected. This screen led to the identification of two populations of mutants classified according to their recombination defects: mutants that repair meiotic DSBs using the sister chromatid such as Atdmc1 or mutants that are unable to make DSBs like Atspo11-1. We found that in Arabidopsis thaliana at least four proteins are necessary for driving meiotic DSB repair via the homologous chromosomes. These include the previously characterised DMC1 and the Hop1-related ASY1 proteins, but also the meiotic specific cyclin SDS as well as the Hop2 Arabidopsis homologue AHP2. Analysing the mutants defective in DSB formation, we identified the previously characterised AtSPO11-1, AtSPO11-2, and AtPRD1 as well as two new genes, AtPRD2 and AtPRD3. Our data thus increase the number of proteins necessary for DSB formation in Arabidopsis thaliana to five. Unlike SPO11 and (to a minor extent) PRD1, these two new proteins are poorly conserved among species, suggesting that the DSB formation mechanism, but not its regulation, is conserved among eukaryotes.
Project description:The initiation of meiotic recombination by the formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) catalysed by the Spo11 protein is strongly evolutionary conserved. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Spo11 requires nine other proteins for meiotic DSB formation, but, unlike Spo11, few of these proteins seem to be conserved across kingdoms. In order to investigate this recombination step in higher eukaryotes, we have isolated a new gene, AtPRD1, whose mutation affects meiosis in Arabidopsis thaliana. In Atprd1 mutants, meiotic recombination rates fall dramatically, early recombination markers (e.g., DMC1 foci) are absent, but meiosis progresses until achiasmatic univalents are formed. Besides, Atprd1 mutants suppress DSB repair defects of a large range of meiotic mutants, showing that AtPRD1 is involved in meiotic recombination and is required for meiotic DSB formation. Furthermore, we showed that AtPRD1 and AtSPO11-1 interact in a yeast two-hybrid assay, suggesting that AtPRD1 could be a partner of AtSPO11-1. Moreover, our study reveals similarity between AtPRD1 and the mammalian protein Mei1, suggesting that AtPRD1 could be a Mei1 functional homologue.
Project description:BACKGROUND: SPO11 is a key protein for promoting meiotic recombination, by generating chromatin locus- and timing-specific DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). The DSB activity of SPO11 was shown by genetic analyses, but whether SPO11 exerts DSB-forming activity by itself is still an unanswered question. DSB formation by SPO11 has not been detected by biochemical means, probably because of a lack of proper protein-folding, posttranslational modifications, and/or specific SPO11-interacting proteins required for this activity. In addition, plants have multiple SPO11-homologues. RESULTS: To determine whether SPO11 can cleave DNA by itself, and to identify which plant SPO11 homologue cleaves DNA, we developed a Drosophila bioassay system that detects the DSB signals generated by a plant SPO11 homologue expressed ectopically. We cytologically and genetically demonstrated the DSB activities of Arabidopsis AtSPO11-1 and AtSPO11-2, which are required for meiosis, in the absence of other plant proteins. Using this bioassay, we further found that a novel SPO11-homologue, OsSPO11D, which has no counterpart in Arabidopsis, displays prominent DSB-forming activity. Quantitative analyses of the rice SPO11 transcripts revealed the specific increase in OsSPO11D mRNA in the anthers containing meiotic pollen mother cells. CONCLUSIONS: The Drosophila bioassay system successfully demonstrated that some plant SPO11 orthologues have intrinsic DSB activities. Furthermore, we identified a novel SPO11 homologue, OsSPO11D, with robust DSB activity and a possible meiotic function.
Project description:Obligatory homologous recombination (HR) is required for chiasma formation and chromosome segregation in meiosis I. Meiotic HR is initiated by DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), generated by Spo11, a homologue of the archaebacterial topoisomerase subunit Top6A. In Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Rad50, Mre11 and Com1/Sae2 are essential to process an intermediate of the cleavage reaction consisting of Spo11 covalently linked to the 5' termini of DNA. While Rad50 and Mre11 also confer genome stability to vegetative cells and are well conserved in evolution, Com1/Sae2 was believed to be fungal-specific. Here, we identify COM1/SAE2 homologues in all eukaryotic kingdoms. Arabidopsis thaliana Com1/Sae2 mutants are sterile, accumulate AtSPO11-1 during meiotic prophase and fail to form AtRAd51 foci despite the presence of unrepaired DSBs. Furthermore, DNA fragmentation in AtCom1 is suppressed by eliminating AtSPO11-1. In addition, AtCOM1 is specifically required for mitomycin C resistance. Interestingly, we identified CtIP, an essential protein interacting with the DNA repair machinery, as the mammalian homologue of Com1/Sae2, with important implications for the molecular role of CtIP.
Project description:Meiotic recombination initiates from DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) generated by SPO11 topoisomerase-like complexes. Meiotic DSB frequency varies extensively along eukaryotic chromosomes, with hotspots controlled by chromatin and DNA sequence. To map meiotic DSBs throughout a plant genome, we purified and sequenced Arabidopsis thaliana SPO11-1-oligonucleotides. SPO11-1-oligos are elevated in gene promoters, terminators, and introns, which is driven by AT-sequence richness that excludes nucleosomes and allows SPO11-1 access. A positive relationship was observed between SPO11-1-oligos and crossovers genome-wide, although fine-scale correlations were weaker. This may reflect the influence of interhomolog polymorphism on crossover formation, downstream from DSB formation. Although H3K4me3 is enriched in proximity to SPO11-1-oligo hotspots at gene 5' ends, H3K4me3 levels do not correlate with DSBs. Repetitive transposons are thought to be recombination silenced during meiosis, to prevent nonallelic interactions and genome instability. Unexpectedly, we found high SPO11-1-oligo levels in nucleosome-depleted Helitron/Pogo/Tc1/Mariner DNA transposons, whereas retrotransposons were coldspots. High SPO11-1-oligo transposons are enriched within gene regulatory regions and in proximity to immunity genes, suggesting a role as recombination enhancers. As transposon mobility in plant genomes is restricted by DNA methylation, we used the met1 DNA methyltransferase mutant to investigate the role of heterochromatin in SPO11-1-oligo distributions. Epigenetic activation of meiotic DSBs in proximity to centromeres and transposons occurred in met1 mutants, coincident with reduced nucleosome occupancy, gain of transcription, and H3K4me3. Together, our work reveals a complex relationship between chromatin and meiotic DSBs within A. thaliana genes and transposons, with significance for the diversity and evolution of plant genomes.
Project description:The Saccharomyces cerevisiae Spo11 protein catalyses DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that initiate meiotic recombination. The model plant Arabidopsis thaliana possesses at least three SPO11 homologues. T-DNA and ethyl-methane sulfonate mutagenesis allowed us to show that meiotic progression is altered in plants in which the AtSPO11-1 gene is disrupted. Both male and female meiocytes formed very few bivalents. Furthermore, no fully synapsed chromosomes were observed during prophase I. Later, in meiosis I, we observed that chromosomes segregated randomly, leading to the production of a large proportion of non-functional gametes. These meiotic aberrations were associated with a drastic reduction in meiotic recombination. Thus, our data show that initiation of meiotic recombination by SPO11- induced DSBs is a mechanism conserved in plants. Furthermore, unlike Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans, but like fungi, SPO11 is necessary for normal synapsis in plants.
Project description:Meiotic recombination is initiated from the formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). In Arabidopsis, several proteins, such as AtPRD1, AtPRD2, AtPRD3, AtDFO and topoisomerase (Topo) VI-like complex, have been identified as playing important roles in DSB formation. Topo VI-like complex in Arabidopsis may consist of subunit A (Topo VIA: AtSPO11-1 and AtSPO11-2) and subunit B (Topo VIB: MTOPVIB). Little is known about their roles in Arabidopsis DSB formation. Here, we report on the characterization of the MTOPVIB gene using the Arabidopsis mutant alleles mtopVIB-2 and mtopVIB-3, which were defective in DSB formation. mtopVIB-3 exhibited abortion in embryo sac and pollen development, leading to a significant reduction in fertility. The mtopVIB mutations affected the homologous chromosome synapsis and recombination. MTOPVIB could interact with Topo VIA proteins AtSPO11-1 and AtSPO11-2. AtPRD1 interacted directly with Topo VI-like proteins. AtPRD1 also could interact with AtPRD3 and AtDFO. The results indicated that AtPRD1 may act as a bridge protein to interact with AtPRD3 and AtDFO, and interact directly with the Topo VI-like proteins MTOPVIB, AtSPO11-1 and AtSPO11-2 to take part in DSB formation in Arabidopsis.
Project description:In many organisms, developmentally programmed double-strand breaks (DSBs) formed by the SPO11 transesterase initiate meiotic recombination, which promotes pairing and segregation of homologous chromosomes. Because every chromosome must receive a minimum number of DSBs, attention has focused on factors that support DSB formation. However, improperly repaired DSBs can cause meiotic arrest or mutation; thus, having too many DSBs is probably as deleterious as having too few. Only a small fraction of SPO11 protein ever makes a DSB in yeast or mouse and SPO11 and its accessory factors remain abundant long after most DSB formation ceases, implying the existence of mechanisms that restrain SPO11 activity to limit DSB numbers. Here we report that the number of meiotic DSBs in mouse is controlled by ATM, a kinase activated by DNA damage to trigger checkpoint signalling and promote DSB repair. Levels of SPO11-oligonucleotide complexes, by-products of meiotic DSB formation, are elevated at least tenfold in spermatocytes lacking ATM. Moreover, Atm mutation renders SPO11-oligonucleotide levels sensitive to genetic manipulations that modulate SPO11 protein levels. We propose that ATM restrains SPO11 via a negative feedback loop in which kinase activation by DSBs suppresses further DSB formation. Our findings explain previously puzzling phenotypes of Atm-null mice and provide a molecular basis for the gonadal dysgenesis observed in ataxia telangiectasia, the human syndrome caused by ATM deficiency.
Project description:DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), which are formed by the Spo11 protein, initiate meiotic recombination. Previous DSB-mapping studies have used rad50S or sae2Delta mutants, which are defective in break processing, to accumulate Spo11-linked DSBs, and report large (> or = 50 kb) "DSB-hot" regions that are separated by "DSB-cold" domains of similar size. Substantial recombination occurs in some DSB-cold regions, suggesting that DSB patterns are not normal in rad50S or sae2Delta mutants. We therefore developed a novel method to map genome-wide, single-strand DNA (ssDNA)-associated DSBs that accumulate in processing-capable, repair-defective dmc1Delta and dmc1Delta rad51Delta mutants. DSBs were observed at known hot spots, but also in most previously identified "DSB-cold" regions, including near centromeres and telomeres. Although approximately 40% of the genome is DSB-cold in rad50S mutants, analysis of meiotic ssDNA from dmc1Delta shows that most of these regions have substantial DSB activity. Southern blot assays of DSBs in selected regions in dmc1Delta, rad50S, and wild-type cells confirm these findings. Thus, DSBs are distributed much more uniformly than was previously believed. Comparisons of DSB signals in dmc1, dmc1 rad51, and dmc1 spo11 mutant strains identify Dmc1 as a critical strand-exchange activity genome-wide, and confirm previous conclusions that Spo11-induced lesions initiate all meiotic recombination.
Project description:The Spo11 protein of yeast has been found to be covalently bound to double-strand breaks in meiosis, demonstrating a unique role of the protein in the formation of these breaks. Homologues of the SPO11 gene have been found in various eukaryotes, indicating that the machinery involved in meiotic recombination is conserved in eukaryotes. Here we report on SPO11 homologues in plants. In contrast to what is known from other eukaryotes, Arabidopsis thaliana carries in its genome at least two SPO11 homologues, AtSPO11-1 and AtSPO11-2. Both genes are not more closely related to each other than to other eukaryotic SPO11 homologues, indicating that they did not arise via a recent duplication event during higher plant evolution. For both genes three different poly-adenylation sites were found. AtSPO11-1 is expressed not only in generative but also to a lesser extent in somatic tissues. We were able to detect in different organs various AtSPO11-1 cDNAs in which introns were differently spliced-a surprising phenomenon also reported for SPO11 homologues in mammals. In the case of AtSPO11-2 we found that the 3' end of the mRNA is overlapping with a mRNA produced by a gene located in inverse orientation next to it. This points to a possible antisense regulation mechanism. Our findings hint to the intriguing possibility that, at least for plants, Spo11-like proteins might have more and possibly other biological functions than originally anticipated for yeast.
Project description:During meiosis, formation and repair of programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) create genetic exchange between homologous chromosomes-a process that is critical for reductional meiotic chromosome segregation and the production of genetically diverse sexually reproducing populations. Meiotic DSB formation is a complex process, requiring numerous proteins, of which Spo11 is the evolutionarily conserved catalytic subunit. Precisely how Spo11 and its accessory proteins function or are regulated is unclear. Here, we use Saccharomyces cerevisiae to reveal that meiotic DSB formation is modulated by the Mec1(ATR) branch of the DNA damage signalling cascade, promoting DSB formation when Spo11-mediated catalysis is compromised. Activation of the positive feedback pathway correlates with the formation of single-stranded DNA (ssDNA) recombination intermediates and activation of the downstream kinase, Mek1. We show that the requirement for checkpoint activation can be rescued by prolonging meiotic prophase by deleting the NDT80 transcription factor, and that even transient prophase arrest caused by Ndt80 depletion is sufficient to restore meiotic spore viability in checkpoint mutants. Our observations are unexpected given recent reports that the complementary kinase pathway Tel1(ATM) acts to inhibit DSB formation. We propose that such antagonistic regulation of DSB formation by Mec1 and Tel1 creates a regulatory mechanism, where the absolute frequency of DSBs is maintained at a level optimal for genetic exchange and efficient chromosome segregation.