Interdependent and separable functions of Caenorhabditis elegans MRN-C complex members couple formation and repair of meiotic DSBs.
ABSTRACT: Faithful inheritance of genetic information through sexual reproduction relies on the formation of crossovers between homologous chromosomes during meiosis, which, in turn, relies on the formation and repair of numerous double-strand breaks (DSBs). As DSBs pose a potential threat to the genome, mechanisms that ensure timely and error-free DSB repair are crucial for successful meiosis. Here, we identify NBS-1, the Caenorhabditis elegans ortholog of the NBS1 (mutated in Nijmegen Breakage Syndrome) subunit of the conserved MRE11-RAD50-NBS1/Xrs2 (MRN) complex, as a key mediator of DSB repair via homologous recombination (HR) during meiosis. Loss of nbs-1 leads to severely reduced loading of recombinase RAD-51, ssDNA binding protein RPA, and pro-crossover factor COSA-1 during meiotic prophase progression; aggregated and fragmented chromosomes at the end of meiotic prophase; and 100% progeny lethality. These phenotypes reflect a role for NBS-1 in processing of meiotic DSBs for HR that is shared with its interacting partners MRE-11-RAD-50 and COM-1 (ortholog of Com1/Sae2/CtIP). Unexpectedly, in contrast to MRE-11 and RAD-50, NBS-1 is not required for meiotic DSB formation. Meiotic defects of the nbs-1 mutant are partially suppressed by abrogation of the nonhomologous end-joining (NHEJ) pathway, indicating a role for NBS-1 in antagonizing NHEJ during meiosis. Our data further reveal that NBS-1 and COM-1 play distinct roles in promoting HR and antagonizing NHEJ. We propose a model in which different components of the MRN-C complex work together to couple meiotic DSB formation with efficient and timely engagement of HR, thereby ensuring crossover formation and restoration of genome integrity before the meiotic divisions.
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.
Project description:The cohesin complex is required for the cohesion of sister chromatids and for correct segregation during mitosis and meiosis. Crossover recombination, together with cohesion, is essential for the disjunction of homologous chromosomes during the first meiotic division. Cohesin has been implicated in facilitating recombinational repair of DNA lesions via the sister chromatid. Here, we made use of a new temperature-sensitive mutation in the Caenorhabditis elegans SMC-3 protein to study the role of cohesin in the repair of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and hence in meiotic crossing over. We report that attenuation of cohesin was associated with extensive SPO-11-dependent chromosome fragmentation, which is representative of unrepaired DSBs. We also found that attenuated cohesin likely increased the number of DSBs and eliminated the need of MRE-11 and RAD-50 for DSB formation in C. elegans, which suggests a role for the MRN complex in making cohesin-loaded chromatin susceptible to meiotic DSBs. Notably, in spite of largely intact sister chromatid cohesion, backup DSB repair via the sister chromatid was mostly impaired. We also found that weakened cohesins affected mitotic repair of DSBs by homologous recombination, whereas NHEJ repair was not affected. Our data suggest that recombinational DNA repair makes higher demands on cohesins than does chromosome segregation.
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:The BRCA2 tumor suppressor is implicated in DNA double-strand break (DSB) repair by homologous recombination (HR), where it regulates the RAD51 recombinase. We describe a BRCA2-related protein of Caenorhabditis elegans (CeBRC-2) that interacts directly with RAD-51 via a single BRC motif and that binds preferentially to single-stranded DNA through an oligonucleotide-oligosaccharide binding fold. Cebrc-2 mutants fail to repair meiotic or radiation-induced DSBs by HR due to inefficient RAD-51 nuclear localization and a failure to target RAD-51 to sites of DSBs. Genetic and cytological comparisons of Cebrc-2 and rad-51 mutants revealed fundamental phenotypic differences that suggest a role for Cebrc-2 in promoting the use of an alternative repair pathway in the absence of rad-51 and independent of nonhomologous end joining (NHEJ). Unlike rad-51 mutants, Cebrc-2 mutants also accumulate RPA-1 at DSBs, and abnormal chromosome aggregates that arise during the meiotic prophase can be rescued by blocking the NHEJ pathway. CeBRC-2 also forms foci in response to DNA damage and can do so independently of rad-51. Thus, CeBRC-2 not only regulates RAD-51 during HR but can also function independently of rad-51 in DSB repair processes.
Project description:DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) pose a serious threat to genomic stability. Paradoxically, hundreds of programed DSBs are generated by SPO11 in meiotic prophase, which are exclusively repaired by homologous recombination (HR) to promote obligate crossover between homologous chromosomes. In somatic cells, MRE11-RAD50-NBS1 (MRN) complex-dependent DNA end resection is a prerequisite for HR repair, especially for DSBs that are covalently linked with proteins or chemicals. Interestingly, all meiotic DSBs are linked with SPO11 after being generated. Although MRN complex's function in meiotic DSB repair has been established in lower organisms, the role of MRN complex in mammalian meiotic DSB repair is not clear. Here, we show that MRN complex is essential for repairing meiotic SPO11-linked DSBs in male mice. In male germ cells, conditional inactivation of NBS1, a key component of MRN complex, causes dramatic reduction of DNA end resection and defective HR repair in meiotic prophase. NBS1 loss severely disrupts chromosome synapsis, generates abnormal chromosome structures, and eventually leads to meiotic arrest and male infertility in mice. Unlike in somatic cells, the recruitment of NBS1 to SPO11-linked DSB sites is MDC1-independent but requires other phosphorylated proteins. Collectively, our study not only reveals the significance of MRN complex in repairing meiotic DSBs but also discovers a unique mechanism that recruits MRN complex to SPO11-linked DSB sites.
Project description:During meiosis, programmed double-strand breaks (DSBs) are repaired via recombination pathways that are required for faithful chromosomal segregation and genetic diversity. In meiotic progression, the non-homologous end joining (NHEJ) pathway is suppressed and instead meiotic recombination initiated by nucleolytic resection of DSB ends is the major pathway employed. This requires diverse recombinase proteins and regulatory factors involved in the formation of crossovers (COs) and non-crossovers (NCOs). In mitosis, spontaneous DSBs occurring at the G1 phase are predominantly repaired via NHEJ, mediating the joining of DNA ends. The Ku complex binds to these DSB ends, inhibiting additional DSB resection and mediating end joining with Dnl4, Lif1, and Nej1, which join the Ku complex and DSB ends. Here, we report the role of the Ku complex in DSB repair using a physical analysis of recombination in Saccharomyces cerevisiae during meiosis. We found that the Ku complex is not essential for meiotic progression, DSB formation, joint molecule formation, or CO/NCO formation during normal meiosis. Surprisingly, in the absence of the Ku complex and functional Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 (MRX) complex, a large portion of meiotic DSBs was repaired via the recombination pathway to form COs and NCOs. Our data suggested that Ku complex prevents meiotic recombination in the elimination of MRX activity. [BMB Reports 2019; 52(10): 607-612].
Project description:Mre11, together with Rad50 and Xrs2/NBS, plays pivotal roles in homologous recombination, repair of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs), activation of damage-induced checkpoint, and telomere maintenance. Using DNA microarray assays to analyze yeast mutants (mre11delta, rad50delta, and spo11Y135F) defective for meiotic DSB formation, we demonstrate that the absence of Mre11 in yeast causes specific effects on regulation of a class of meiotic genes for spore development. The transcriptional deficiency was not observed in other DSB mutants such as rad50delta and spo11Y135F, suggesting the transcriptional defect in mre11delta is due to neither lack of meiotic DSB formation, nor disintegrity of Mre11-Rad50-Xrs2 complex.These defects were confirmed by northern and lacZ reporter gene assays. Experiment Overall Design: Gene expression data from wild type, mre11delta, rad50delta, and spo11Y135F cells in premeiosis (meiosis 0 hr) and prophase (meiosis 4 hr). Affymetrix GeneChip YG-S98 was used. All strains used were SK1 background diploid cells.
Project description:Double-strand breaks (DSBs) are among the most deleterious lesions DNA can endure. Yet, DSBs are programmed at the onset of meiosis, and are required to facilitate appropriate reduction of ploidy in daughter cells. Repair of these breaks is tightly controlled to favor homologous recombination (HR)-the only repair pathway that can form crossovers. However, little is known about how the activities of alternative repair pathways are regulated at these stages. We discovered an unexpected synthetic interaction between the DSB machinery and strand-exchange proteins. Depleting the Caenorhabditis elegans DSB-promoting factors HIM-5 and DSB-2 suppresses the formation of chromosome fusions that arise in the absence of RAD-51 or other strand-exchange mediators. Our investigations reveal that nonhomologous and theta-mediated end joining (c-NHEJ and TMEJ, respectively) and single strand annealing (SSA) function redundantly to repair DSBs when HR is compromised, and that HIM-5 influences the utilization of TMEJ and SSA.
Project description:For most organisms, chromosome segregation during meiosis relies on deliberate induction of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) and repair of a subset of these DSBs as inter-homolog crossovers (COs). However, timing and levels of DSB formation must be tightly controlled to avoid jeopardizing genome integrity. Here we identify the DSB-2 protein, which is required for efficient DSB formation during C. elegans meiosis but is dispensable for later steps of meiotic recombination. DSB-2 localizes to chromatin during the time of DSB formation, and its disappearance coincides with a decline in RAD-51 foci marking early recombination intermediates and precedes appearance of COSA-1 foci marking CO-designated sites. These and other data suggest that DSB-2 and its paralog DSB-1 promote competence for DSB formation. Further, immunofluorescence analyses of wild-type gonads and various meiotic mutants reveal that association of DSB-2 with chromatin is coordinated with multiple distinct aspects of the meiotic program, including the phosphorylation state of nuclear envelope protein SUN-1 and dependence on RAD-50 to load the RAD-51 recombinase at DSB sites. Moreover, association of DSB-2 with chromatin is prolonged in mutants impaired for either DSB formation or formation of downstream CO intermediates. These and other data suggest that association of DSB-2 with chromatin is an indicator of competence for DSB formation, and that cells respond to a deficit of CO-competent recombination intermediates by prolonging the DSB-competent state. In the context of this model, we propose that formation of sufficient CO-competent intermediates engages a negative feedback response that leads to cessation of DSB formation as part of a major coordinated transition in meiotic prophase progression. The proposed negative feedback regulation of DSB formation simultaneously (1) ensures that sufficient DSBs are made to guarantee CO formation and (2) prevents excessive DSB levels that could have deleterious effects.
Project description:Spermatogenesis is a complex process that generates haploid germ cells or spores and implements meiosis, a succession of two special cell divisions that are required for homologous chromosome segregation. During prophase to the first meiotic division, homologous recombination (HR) repairs Spo11-dependent DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the presence of telomere movements to allow for chromosome pairing and segregation at the meiosis I division. In contrast to HR, non-homologous end joining (NHEJ), the major DSB repair mechanism during the G1 cell cycle phase, is downregulated during early meiotic prophase. At somatic mammalian telomeres, the NHEJ factor Ku70/80 inhibits HR, as does the Rap1 component of the shelterin complex. Here, we investigated the role of Ku70 and Rap1 in meiotic telomere redistribution and genome protection in spermatogenesis by studying single and double knockout mice. Ku70(-/-) mice display reduced testis size and compromised spermatogenesis, whereas meiotic telomere dynamics and chromosomal bouquet formation occurred normally in Ku70(-/-) and Ku70(-/-)Rap1(?/?) knockout spermatocytes. Elevated mid-preleptotene frequencies were associated with significantly increased DNA damage in Ku-deficient B spermatogonia, and in differentiated Sertoli cells. Significantly elevated levels of ?H2AX foci in Ku70(-/-) diplotene spermatocytes suggest compromised progression of DNA repair at a subset of DSBs. This might explain the elevated meiotic metaphase apoptosis that is present in Ku70-deficient stage XII testis tubules, indicating spindle assembly checkpoint activation. In summary, our data indicate that Ku70 is important for repairing DSBs in somatic cells and in late spermatocytes of the testis, thereby assuring the fidelity of spermatogenesis.