FancJ (Brip1) loss-of-function allele results in spermatogonial cell depletion during embryogenesis and altered processing of crossover sites during meiotic prophase I in mice.
ABSTRACT: Fancj, the gene associated with Fanconi anemia (FA) Complementation Group J, encodes a DNA helicase involved in homologous recombination repair and the cellular response to replication stress. FANCJ functions in part through its interaction with key DNA repair proteins, including MutL homolog-1 (MLH1), Breast Cancer Associated gene-1 (BRCA1), and Bloom syndrome helicase (BLM). All three of these proteins are involved in a variety of events that ensure genome stability, including the events of DNA double strand break (DSB) repair during prophase I of meiosis. Meiotic DSBs are repaired through homologous recombination resulting in non-crossovers (NCO) or crossovers (CO). The frequency and placement of COs are stringently regulated to ensure that each chromosome receives at least one CO event, and that longer chromosomes receive at least one additional CO, thus facilitating the accurate segregation of homologous chromosomes at the first meiotic division. In the present study, we investigated the role of Fancj during prophase I using a gene trap mutant allele. Fancj (GT/GT) mutants are fertile, but their testes are very much smaller than wild-type littermates, predominantly as a result of impeded spermatogonial proliferation and mildly increased apoptosis during testis development in the fetus. This defect in spermatogonial proliferation is consistent with mutations in other FA genes. During prophase I, early events of synapsis and DSB induction/repair appear mostly normal in Fancj (GT/GT) males, and the FANCJ-interacting protein BRCA1 assembles normally on meiotic chromosome cores. However, MLH1 focus frequency is increased in Fancj (GT/GT) males, indicative of increased DSB repair via CO, and is concomitant with increased chiasmata at diakinesis. This increase in COs in the absence of FANCJ is associated with increased localization of BLM helicase protein, indicating that BLM may facilitate the increased rate of crossing over in Fancj (GT/GT) males. Taken together, these results demonstrate a critical role for FANCJ in spermatogenesis at two stages: firstly in the proliferative activity that gives rise to the full complement of testicular spermatogonia and secondly in the establishment of appropriate CO numbers during prophase I.
Project description:During meiotic prophase I, double-strand breaks (DSBs) initiate homologous recombination leading to non-crossovers (NCOs) and crossovers (COs). In mouse, 10% of DSBs are designated to become COs, primarily through a pathway dependent on the MLH1-MLH3 heterodimer (MutL?). Mlh3 contains an endonuclease domain that is critical for resolving COs in yeast. We generated a mouse (Mlh3DN/DN) harboring a mutation within this conserved domain that is predicted to generate a protein that is catalytically inert. Mlh3DN/DN males, like fully null Mlh3-/- males, have no spermatozoa and are infertile, yet spermatocytes have grossly normal DSBs and synapsis events in early prophase I. Unlike Mlh3-/- males, mutation of the endonuclease domain within MLH3 permits normal loading and frequency of MutL? in pachynema. However, key DSB repair factors (RAD51) and mediators of CO pathway choice (BLM helicase) persist into pachynema in Mlh3DN/DN males, indicating a temporal delay in repair events and revealing a mechanism by which alternative DSB repair pathways may be selected. While Mlh3DN/DN spermatocytes retain only 22% of wildtype chiasmata counts, this frequency is greater than observed in Mlh3-/- males (10%), suggesting that the allele may permit partial endonuclease activity, or that other pathways can generate COs from these MutL?-defined repair intermediates in Mlh3DN/DN males. Double mutant mice homozygous for the Mlh3DN/DN and Mus81-/- mutations show losses in chiasmata close to those observed in Mlh3-/- males, indicating that the MUS81-EME1-regulated crossover pathway can only partially account for the increased residual chiasmata in Mlh3DN/DN spermatocytes. Our data demonstrate that mouse spermatocytes bearing the MLH1-MLH3DN/DN complex display the proper loading of factors essential for CO resolution (MutS?, CDK2, HEI10, MutL?). Despite these functions, mice bearing the Mlh3DN/DN allele show defects in the repair of meiotic recombination intermediates and a loss of most chiasmata.
Project description:Meiotic double-strand breaks (DSBs) are generated and repaired in a highly regulated manner to ensure formation of crossovers (COs) while also enabling efficient non-CO repair to restore genome integrity. We use structured-illumination microscopy to investigate the dynamic architecture of DSB repair complexes at meiotic recombination sites in relationship to the synaptonemal complex (SC). DSBs resected at both ends are converted into inter-homolog repair intermediates harboring two populations of BLM helicase and RPA, flanking a single population of MutS?. These intermediates accumulate until late pachytene, when repair proteins disappear from non-CO sites and CO-designated sites become enveloped by SC-central region proteins, acquire a second MutS? population, and lose RPA. These and other data suggest that the SC may protect CO intermediates from being dismantled inappropriately and promote CO maturation by generating a transient CO-specific repair compartment, thereby enabling differential timing and outcome of repair at CO and non-CO sites.
Project description:The mammalian Mcm-domain containing 2 (Mcmdc2) gene encodes a protein of unknown function that is homologous to the minichromosome maintenance family of DNA replication licensing and helicase factors. Drosophila melanogaster contains two separate genes, the Mei-MCMs, which appear to have arisen from a single ancestral Mcmdc2 gene. The Mei-MCMs are involved in promoting meiotic crossovers by blocking the anticrossover activity of BLM helicase, a function presumably performed by MSH4 and MSH5 in metazoans. Here, we report that MCMDC2-deficient mice of both sexes are viable but sterile. Males fail to produce spermatozoa, and formation of primordial follicles is disrupted in females. Histology and immunocytological analyses of mutant testes revealed that meiosis is arrested in prophase I, and is characterized by persistent meiotic double-stranded DNA breaks (DSBs), failure of homologous chromosome synapsis and XY body formation, and an absence of crossing over. These phenotypes resembled those of MSH4/5-deficient meiocytes. The data indicate that MCMDC2 is essential for invasion of homologous sequences by RAD51- and DMC1-coated single-stranded DNA filaments, or stabilization of recombination intermediates following strand invasion, both of which are needed to drive stable homolog pairing and DSB repair via recombination in mice.
Project description:Successful completion of meiosis requires the induction and faithful repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). DSBs can be repaired via homologous recombination (HR) or non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), yet only repair via HR can generate the interhomolog crossovers (COs) needed for meiotic chromosome segregation. Here we identify COM-1, the homolog of CtIP/Sae2/Ctp1, as a crucial regulator of DSB repair pathway choice during Caenorhabditis elegans gametogenesis. COM-1-deficient germ cells repair meiotic DSBs via the error-prone pathway NHEJ, resulting in a lack of COs, extensive chromosomal aggregation, and near-complete embryonic lethality. In contrast to its yeast counterparts, COM-1 is not required for Spo11 removal and initiation of meiotic DSB repair, but instead promotes meiotic recombination by counteracting the NHEJ complex Ku. In fact, animals defective for both COM-1 and Ku are viable and proficient in CO formation. Further genetic dissection revealed that COM-1 acts parallel to the nuclease EXO-1 to promote interhomolog HR at early pachytene stage of meiotic prophase and thereby safeguards timely CO formation. Both of these nucleases, however, are dispensable for RAD-51 recruitment at late pachytene stage, when homolog-independent repair pathways predominate, suggesting further redundancy and/or temporal regulation of DNA end resection during meiotic prophase. Collectively, our results uncover the potentially lethal properties of NHEJ during meiosis and identify a critical role for COM-1 in NHEJ inhibition and CO assurance in germ cells.
Project description:Recombinational repair of meiotic DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) uses the homologous chromosome as a template, although the sister chromatid offers itself as a spatially more convenient substrate. In many organisms, this choice is reinforced by the recombination protein Dmc1. In Tetrahymena, the repair of DSBs, which are formed early in prophase, is postponed to late prophase when homologous chromosomes and sister chromatids become juxtaposed owing to tight parallel packing in the thread-shaped nucleus, and thus become equally suitable for use as repair templates. The delay in DSB repair is achieved by rejection of the invading strand by the Sgs1 helicase in early meiotic prophase. In the absence of Mcmd1, a meiosis-specific minichromosome maintenance (MCM)-like protein (and its partner Pamd1), Dmc1 is prematurely lost from chromatin and DNA synthesis (as monitored by BrdU incorporation) takes place in early prophase. In mcmd1? and pamd1? mutants, only a few crossovers are formed. In a mcmd1? hop2? double mutant, normal timing of Dmc1 loss and DNA synthesis is restored. Because Tetrahymena Hop2 is believed to enable homologous strand invasion, we conclude that Dmc1 loss in the absence of Mcmd1 affects only post-invasion recombination intermediates. Therefore, we propose that the Dmc1 nucleofilament becomes dismantled immediately after forming a heteroduplex with a template strand. As a consequence, repair synthesis and D-loop extension starts in early prophase intermediates and prevents strand rejection before the completion of homologous pairing. In this case, DSB repair may primarily use the sister chromatid. We conclude that Mcmd1?Pamd1 protects the Dmc1 nucleofilament from premature dismantling, thereby suppressing precocious repair synthesis and excessive intersister strand exchange at the cost of homologous recombination.
Project description:The mammalian ortholog of yeast Slx4, BTBD12, is an ATM substrate that functions as a scaffold for various DNA repair activities. Mutations of human BTBD12 have been reported in a new sub-type of Fanconi anemia patients. Recent studies have implicated the fly and worm orthologs, MUS312 and HIM-18, in the regulation of meiotic crossovers arising from double-strand break (DSB) initiating events and also in genome stability prior to meiosis. Using a Btbd12 mutant mouse, we analyzed the role of BTBD12 in mammalian gametogenesis. BTBD12 localizes to pre-meiotic spermatogonia and to meiotic spermatocytes in wildtype males. Btbd12 mutant mice have less than 15% normal spermatozoa and are subfertile. Loss of BTBD12 during embryogenesis results in impaired primordial germ cell proliferation and increased apoptosis, which reduces the spermatogonial pool in the early postnatal testis. During prophase I, DSBs initiate normally in Btbd12 mutant animals. However, DSB repair is delayed or impeded, resulting in persistent ?H2AX and RAD51, and the choice of repair pathway may be altered, resulting in elevated MLH1/MLH3 focus numbers at pachynema. The result is an increase in apoptosis through prophase I and beyond. Unlike yeast Slx4, therefore, BTBD12 appears to function in meiotic prophase I, possibly during the recombination events that lead to the production of crossovers. In line with its expected regulation by ATM kinase, BTBD12 protein is reduced in the testis of Atm(-/-) males, and Btbd12 mutant mice exhibit increased genomic instability in the form of elevated blood cell micronucleus formation similar to that seen in Atm(-/-) males. Taken together, these data indicate that BTBD12 functions throughout gametogenesis to maintain genome stability, possibly by co-ordinating repair processes and/or by linking DNA repair events to the cell cycle via ATM.
Project description:Meiotic recombination is initiated by the programmed induction of double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs), lesions that pose a potential threat to the genome. A subset of the DSBs induced during meiotic prophase become designated to be repaired by a pathway that specifically yields interhomolog crossovers (COs), which mature into chiasmata that temporarily connect the homologs to ensure their proper segregation at meiosis I. The remaining DSBs must be repaired by other mechanisms to restore genomic integrity prior to the meiotic divisions. Here we show that HIM-6, the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the RecQ family DNA helicase BLM, functions in both of these processes. We show that him-6 mutants are competent to load the MutS? complex at multiple potential CO sites, to generate intermediates that fulfill the requirements of monitoring mechanisms that enable meiotic progression, and to accomplish and robustly regulate CO designation. However, recombination events at a subset of CO-designated sites fail to mature into COs and chiasmata, indicating a pro-CO role for HIM-6/BLM that manifests itself late in the CO pathway. Moreover, we find that in addition to promoting COs, HIM-6 plays a role in eliminating and/or preventing the formation of persistent MutS?-independent associations between homologous chromosomes. We propose that HIM-6/BLM enforces biased outcomes of recombination events to ensure that both (a) CO-designated recombination intermediates are reliably resolved as COs and (b) other recombination intermediates reliably mature into noncrossovers in a timely manner.
Project description:During the first meiotic prophase, programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) are distributed non randomly at hotspots along chromosomes, to initiate recombination. In all organisms, more DSBs are formed than crossovers (CO), the repair product that creates a physical link between homologs and allows their correct segregation. It is not known whether all DSB hotspots are also CO hotspots or if the CO/DSB ratio varies with the chromosomal location. Here, we investigated the variations in the CO/DSB ratio by mapping genome-wide the binding sites of the Zip3 protein during budding yeast meiosis. We show that Zip3 associates with DSB sites that are engaged in repair by CO, and Zip3 enrichment at DSBs reflects the DSB tendency to be repaired by CO. Moreover, the relative amount of Zip3 per DSB varies with the chromosomal location, and specific chromosomal features are associated with high or low Zip3 per DSB. This work shows that DSB hotspots are not necessarily CO hotspots and suggests that different categories of DSB sites may fulfill different functions.
Project description:Several helicases function during repair of double-strand breaks and handling of blocked or stalled replication forks to promote pathways that prevent formation of crossovers. Among these are the Bloom syndrome helicase BLM and the Fanconi anemia group M (FANCM) helicase. To better understand functions of these helicases, we compared phenotypes of Drosophila melanogaster Blm and Fancm mutants. As previously reported for BLM, FANCM has roles in responding to several types of DNA damage in preventing mitotic and meiotic crossovers and in promoting the synthesis-dependent strand annealing pathway for repair of a double-strand gap. In most assays, the phenotype of Fancm mutants is less severe than that of Blm mutants, and the phenotype of Blm Fancm double mutants is more severe than either single mutant, indicating both overlapping and unique functions. It is thought that mitotic crossovers arise when structure-selective nucleases cleave DNA intermediates that would normally be unwound or disassembled by these helicases. When BLM is absent, three nucleases believed to function as Holliday junction resolvases--MUS81-MMS4, MUS312-SLX1, and GEN--become essential. In contrast, no single resolvase is essential in mutants lacking FANCM, although simultaneous loss of GEN and either of the others is lethal in Fancm mutants. Since Fancm mutants can tolerate loss of a single resolvase, we were able to show that spontaneous mitotic crossovers that occur when FANCM is missing are dependent on MUS312 and either MUS81 or SLX1.
Project description:Repair of double-strand DNA breaks (DSBs) by the homologous recombination (HR) pathway results in crossovers (COs) required for a successful first meiotic division. Mre11 is one member of the MRX/N (Mre11, Rad50, and Xrs2/Nbs1) complex required for meiotic DSB formation and for resection in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. In Caenorhabditis elegans, evidence for the MRX/N role in DSB resection is limited. We report the first separation-of-function allele, mre-11(iow1) in C. elegans, which is specifically defective in meiotic DSB resection but not in formation. The mre-11(iow1) mutants displayed chromosomal fragmentation and aggregation in late prophase I. Recombination intermediates and crossover formation was greatly reduced in mre-11(iow1) mutants. Irradiation-induced DSBs during meiosis failed to be repaired from early to middle prophase I in mre-11(iow1) mutants. In the absence of a functional HR, our data suggest that some DSBs in mre-11(iow1) mutants are repaired by the nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway, as removing NHEJ partially suppressed the meiotic defects shown by mre-11(iow1). In the absence of NHEJ and a functional MRX/N, meiotic DSBs are channeled to EXO-1-dependent HR repair. Overall, our analysis supports a role for MRE-11 in the resection of DSBs in middle meiotic prophase I and in blocking NHEJ.