Mlh3 mutations in baker's yeast alter meiotic recombination outcomes by increasing noncrossover events genome-wide.
ABSTRACT: Mlh1-Mlh3 is an endonuclease hypothesized to act in meiosis to resolve double Holliday junctions into crossovers. It also plays a minor role in eukaryotic DNA mismatch repair (MMR). To understand how Mlh1-Mlh3 functions in both meiosis and MMR, we analyzed in baker's yeast 60 new mlh3 alleles. Five alleles specifically disrupted MMR, whereas one (mlh3-32) specifically disrupted meiotic crossing over. Mlh1-mlh3 representatives for each class were purified and characterized. Both Mlh1-mlh3-32 (MMR+, crossover-) and Mlh1-mlh3-45 (MMR-, crossover+) displayed wild-type endonuclease activities in vitro. Msh2-Msh3, an MSH complex that acts with Mlh1-Mlh3 in MMR, stimulated the endonuclease activity of Mlh1-mlh3-32 but not Mlh1-mlh3-45, suggesting that Mlh1-mlh3-45 is defective in MSH interactions. Whole genome recombination maps were constructed for wild-type and MMR+ crossover-, MMR- crossover+, endonuclease defective and null mlh3 mutants in an S288c/YJM789 hybrid background. Compared to wild-type, all of the mlh3 mutants showed increases in the number of noncrossover events, consistent with recombination intermediates being resolved through alternative recombination pathways. Our observations provide a structure-function map for Mlh3 that reveals the importance of protein-protein interactions in regulating Mlh1-Mlh3's enzymatic activity. They also illustrate how defective meiotic components can alter the fate of meiotic recombination intermediates, providing new insights for how meiotic recombination pathways are regulated.
Project description:In budding yeast, the MutL homolog heterodimer Mlh1-Mlh3 (MutLγ) plays a central role in the formation of meiotic crossovers. It is also involved in the repair of a subset of mismatches besides the main mismatch repair (MMR) endonuclease Mlh1-Pms1 (MutLα). The heterodimer interface and endonuclease sites of MutLγ and MutLα are located in their C-terminal domain (CTD). The molecular basis of MutLγ's dual roles in MMR and meiosis is not known. To better understand the specificity of MutLγ, we characterized the crystal structure of <i>Saccharomyces cerevisiae</i> MutLγ(CTD). Although MutLγ(CTD) presents overall similarities with MutLα(CTD), it harbors some rearrangement of the surface surrounding the active site, which indicates altered substrate preference. The last amino acids of Mlh1 participate in the Mlh3 endonuclease site as previously reported for Pms1. We characterized <i>mlh1</i> alleles and showed a critical role of this Mlh1 extreme C terminus both in MMR and in meiotic recombination. We showed that the MutLγ(CTD) preferentially binds Holliday junctions, contrary to MutLα(CTD). We characterized Mlh3 positions on the N-terminal domain (NTD) and CTD that could contribute to the positioning of the NTD close to the CTD in the context of the full-length MutLγ. Finally, crystal packing revealed an assembly of MutLγ(CTD) molecules in filament structures. Mutation at the corresponding interfaces reduced crossover formation, suggesting that these superstructures may contribute to the oligomer formation proposed for MutLγ. This study defines clear divergent features between the MutL homologs and identifies, at the molecular level, their specialization toward MMR or meiotic recombination functions.
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:Crossing over between homologs is initiated in meiotic prophase by the formation of DNA double-strand breaks that occur throughout the genome. In the major interference-responsive crossover pathway in baker's yeast, these breaks are resected to form 3' single-strand tails that participate in a homology search, ultimately forming double Holliday junctions (dHJs) that primarily include both homologs. These dHJs are resolved by endonuclease activity to form exclusively crossovers, which are critical for proper homolog segregation in Meiosis I. Recent genetic, biochemical, and molecular studies in yeast are consistent with the hypothesis of Mlh1-Mlh3 DNA mismatch repair complex acting as the major endonuclease activity that resolves dHJs into crossovers. However, the mechanism by which the Mlh1-Mlh3 endonuclease is activated is unknown. Here, we provide evidence that Mlh1-Mlh3 does not behave like a structure-specific endonuclease but forms polymers required to generate nicks in DNA. This conclusion is supported by DNA binding studies performed with different-sized substrates that contain or lack polymerization barriers and endonuclease assays performed with varying ratios of endonuclease-deficient and endonuclease-proficient Mlh1-Mlh3. In addition, Mlh1-Mlh3 can generate religatable double-strand breaks and form an active nucleoprotein complex that can nick DNA substrates in trans. Together these observations argue that Mlh1-Mlh3 may not act like a canonical, RuvC-like Holliday junction resolvase and support a novel model in which Mlh1-Mlh3 is loaded onto DNA to form an activated polymer that cleaves DNA.
Project description:Embryonic aneuploidy from mis-segregation of chromosomes during meiosis causes pregnancy loss. Proper disjunction of homologous chromosomes requires the mismatch repair (MMR) genes MLH1 and MLH3, essential in mice for fertility. Variants in these genes can increase colorectal cancer risk, yet the reproductive impacts are unclear. To determine if MLH1/3 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) in human populations could cause reproductive abnormalities, we use computational predictions, yeast two-hybrid assays, and MMR and recombination assays in yeast, selecting nine MLH1 and MLH3 variants to model in mice via genome editing. We identify seven alleles causing reproductive defects in mice including female subfertility and male infertility. Remarkably, in females these alleles cause age-dependent decreases in litter size and increased embryo resorption, likely a consequence of fewer chiasmata that increase univalents at meiotic metaphase I. Our data suggest that hypomorphic alleles of meiotic recombination genes can predispose females to increased incidence of pregnancy loss from gamete aneuploidy.
Project description:MutL?, a heterodimer of the MutL homologues Mlh1 and Mlh3, plays a critical role during meiotic homologous recombination. The meiotic function of Mlh3 is fully dependent on the integrity of a putative nuclease motif DQHAX2EX4E, inferring that the anticipated nuclease activity of Mlh1-Mlh3 is involved in the processing of joint molecules to generate crossover recombination products. Although a vast body of genetic and cell biological data regarding Mlh1-Mlh3 is available, mechanistic insights into its function have been lacking due to the unavailability of the recombinant protein complex. Here we expressed the yeast Mlh1-Mlh3 heterodimer and purified it into near homogeneity. We show that recombinant MutL? is a nuclease that nicks double-stranded DNA. We demonstrate that MutL? binds DNA with a high affinity and shows a marked preference for Holliday junctions. We also expressed the human MLH1-MLH3 complex and show that preferential binding to Holliday junctions is a conserved capacity of eukaryotic MutL? complexes. Specific DNA recognition has never been observed with any other eukaryotic MutL homologue. MutL? thus represents a new paradigm for the function of the eukaryotic MutL protein family. We provide insights into the mode of Holliday junction recognition and show that Mlh1-Mlh3 prefers to bind the open unstacked Holliday junction form. This further supports the model where MutL? is part of a complex acting on joint molecules to generate crossovers in meiosis.
Project description:The Rad2/XPG family nuclease, Exo1, functions in a variety of DNA repair pathways. During meiosis, Exo1 promotes crossover recombination and thereby facilitates chromosome segregation at the first division. Meiotic recombination is initiated by programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). Nucleolytic resection of DSBs generates long 3' single-strand tails that undergo strand exchange with a homologous chromosome to form joint molecule (JM) intermediates. We show that meiotic DSB resection is dramatically reduced in exo1? mutants and test the idea that Exo1-catalyzed resection promotes crossing over by facilitating formation of crossover-specific JMs called double Holliday junctions (dHJs). Contrary to this idea, dHJs form at wild-type levels in exo1? mutants, implying that Exo1 has a second function that promotes resolution of dHJs into crossovers. Surprisingly, the dHJ resolution function of Exo1 is independent of its nuclease activities but requires interaction with the putative endonuclease complex, Mlh1-Mlh3. Thus, the DSB resection and procrossover functions of Exo1 during meiosis involve temporally and biochemically distinct activities.
Project description:Crossovers generated during the repair of programmed meiotic double-strand breaks must be tightly regulated to promote accurate homolog segregation without deleterious outcomes, such as aneuploidy. The Mlh1-Mlh3 (MutLγ) endonuclease complex is critical for crossover resolution, which involves mechanistically unclear interplay between MutLγ and Exo1 and polo kinase Cdc5. Using budding yeast to gain temporal and genetic traction on crossover regulation, we find that MutLγ constitutively interacts with Exo1. Upon commitment to crossover repair, MutLγ-Exo1 associate with recombination intermediates, followed by direct Cdc5 recruitment that triggers MutLγ crossover activity. We propose that Exo1 serves as a central coordinator in this molecular interplay, providing a defined order of interaction that prevents deleterious, premature activation of crossovers. MutLγ associates at a lower frequency near centromeres, indicating that spatial regulation across chromosomal regions reduces risky crossover events. Our data elucidate the temporal and spatial control surrounding a constitutive, potentially harmful, nuclease. We also reveal a critical, noncatalytic role for Exo1, through noncanonical interaction with polo kinase. These mechanisms regulating meiotic crossovers may be conserved across species.
Project description:The DNA mismatch repair (MMR) machinery in mammals plays critical roles in both mutation avoidance and spermatogenesis. Meiotic analysis of knockout mice of two different MMR genes, Mlh1 and Mlh3, revealed both male and female infertility associated with a defect in meiotic crossing over. In contrast, another MMR gene knockout, Pms2 (Pms2(ko/ko)), which contained a deletion of a portion of the ATPase domain, produced animals that were male sterile but female fertile. However, the meiotic phenotype of Pms2(ko/ko) males was less clear-cut than for Mlh1- or Mlh3-deficient meiosis. More recently, we generated a different Pms2 mutant allele (Pms2(cre)), which results in deletion of the same portion of the ATPase domain. Surprisingly, Pms2(cre/cre) male mice were completely fertile, suggesting that the ATPase domain of Pms2 is not required for male fertility. To explore the difference in male fertility, we examined the Pms2 RNA and found that alternative splicing of the Pms2(cre) allele results in a predicted Pms2 containing the C-terminus, which contains the Mlh1-interaction domain, a possible candidate for stabilizing Mlh1 levels. To study further the basis of male fertility, we examined Mlh1 levels in testes and found that whereas Pms2 loss in Pms2(ko/ko) mice results in severely reduced levels of Mlh1 expression in the testes, Mlh1 levels in Pms2(cre/cre) testes were reduced to a lesser extent. Thus, we propose that a primary function of Pms2 during spermatogenesis is to stabilize Mlh1 levels prior to its critical crossing over function with Mlh3.
Project description:Homologous recombination (HR) repairs DNA double-strand breaks using intact homologous sequences as template DNA. Broken DNA and intact homologous sequences form joint molecules (JMs), including Holliday junctions (HJs), as HR intermediates. HJs are resolved to form crossover and noncrossover products. A mismatch repair factor, MLH3 endonuclease, produces the majority of crossovers during meiotic HR, but it remains elusive whether mismatch repair factors promote HR in nonmeiotic cells. We disrupted genes encoding the MLH3 and PMS2 endonucleases in the human B cell line, TK6, generating null MLH3<sup>-/-</sup> and PMS2<sup>-/-</sup> mutant cells. We also inserted point mutations into the endonuclease motif of MLH3 and PMS2 genes, generating endonuclease death MLH3<sup>DN/DN</sup> and PMS2<sup>EK/EK</sup> cells. MLH3<sup>-/-</sup> and MLH3<sup>DN/DN</sup> cells showed a very similar phenotype, a 2.5-fold decrease in the frequency of heteroallelic HR-dependent repair of restriction enzyme-induced double-strand breaks. PMS2<sup>-/-</sup> and PMS2<sup>EK/EK</sup> cells showed a phenotype very similar to that of the MLH3 mutants. These data indicate that MLH3 and PMS2 promote HR as an endonuclease. The MLH3<sup>DN/DN</sup> and PMS2<sup>EK/EK</sup> mutations had an additive effect on the heteroallelic HR. MLH3<sup>DN/DN</sup>/PMS2<sup>EK/EK</sup> cells showed normal kinetics of γ-irradiation-induced Rad51 foci but a significant delay in the resolution of Rad51 foci and a 3-fold decrease in the number of cisplatin-induced sister chromatid exchanges. The ectopic expression of the Gen1 HJ re-solvase partially reversed the defective heteroallelic HR of MLH3<sup>DN/DN</sup>/PMS2<sup>EK/EK</sup> cells. Taken together, we propose that MLH3 and PMS2 promote HR as endonucleases, most likely by processing JMs in mammalian somatic cells.
Project description:Mlh1-Mlh3 (MutL?) is a mismatch repair factor with a central role in formation of meiotic crossovers, presumably through resolution of double Holliday junctions. MutL? has DNA-binding, nuclease, and ATPase activities, but how these relate to one another and to in vivo functions are unclear. Here, we combine biochemical and genetic analyses to characterize Saccharomyces cerevisiae MutL?. Limited proteolysis and atomic force microscopy showed that purified recombinant MutL? undergoes ATP-driven conformational changes. In vitro, MutL? displayed separable DNA-binding activities toward Holliday junctions (HJ) and, surprisingly, single-stranded DNA (ssDNA), which was not predicted from current models. MutL? bound DNA cooperatively, could bind multiple substrates simultaneously, and formed higher-order complexes. FeBABE hydroxyl radical footprinting indicated that the DNA-binding interfaces of MutL? for ssDNA and HJ substrates only partially overlap. Most contacts with HJ substrates were located in the linker regions of MutL?, whereas ssDNA contacts mapped within linker regions as well as the N-terminal ATPase domains. Using yeast genetic assays for mismatch repair and meiotic recombination, we found that mutations within different DNA-binding surfaces exert separable effects in vivo. For example, mutations within the Mlh1 linker conferred little or no meiotic phenotype but led to mismatch repair deficiency. Interestingly, mutations in the N-terminal domain of Mlh1 caused a stronger meiotic defect than mlh1?, suggesting that the mutant proteins retain an activity that interferes with alternative recombination pathways. Furthermore, mlh3? caused more chromosome missegregation than mlh1?, whereas mlh1? but not mlh3? partially alleviated meiotic defects of msh5? mutants. These findings illustrate functional differences between Mlh1 and Mlh3 during meiosis and suggest that their absence impinges on chromosome segregation not only via reduced formation of crossovers. Taken together, our results offer insights into the structure-function relationships of the MutL? complex and reveal unanticipated genetic relationships between components of the meiotic recombination machinery.