In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (7)

Articles by Marina A. Bellani in JoVE

Other articles by Marina A. Bellani on PubMed

SPO11 is Required for Sex-body Formation, and Spo11 Heterozygosity Rescues the Prophase Arrest of Atm-/- Spermatocytes

Journal of Cell Science. Aug, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15998665

SPO11 introduces double-strand breaks (DSBs) that trigger the phosphorylation of H2AX during meiotic prophase. In mice, SPO11 is strictly required for initiation of meiotic recombination and synapsis, yet SPO11 is still considered to be dispensable for sex-body formation in mouse spermatocytes. We provide conclusive evidence showing that functional SPO11, and consequently recombination and synapsis, are required for phosphorylation of H2AX in the X-Y chromatin and for sex-body formation in mouse spermatocytes. We investigated the role in meiosis of the three kinases [ATM (ataxia telangiectasia mutated), ATR (ataxia-telangiectasia- and Rad-3-related) and DNA-PKcs (DNA-dependent-protein-kinase catalytic subunit)] known to phosphorylate H2AX in mitotic cells. We found that DNA-PKcs can be ruled out as an essential kinase in this process, whereas ATM is strictly required for the chromatin-wide phosphorylation of H2AX occurring in leptotene spermatocytes in response to DSBs. Remarkably, we discovered that Spo11 heterozygosity can rescue the prophase-I-arrest characteristic of ATM-deficient spermatocytes. Characterization of the rescued Atm-/- Spo11+/- mutant indicates that ATM is dispensable for sex-body formation and phosphorylation of H2AX in this subnuclear domain. The co-localization of ATR, phosphorylated H2AX and the sex chromatin observed in the Atm-/- Spo11+/- mutant, along with ATR transcription kinetics during the first wave of spermatogenesis, confirm and expand recent findings indicating that ATR is the kinase involved in H2AX phosphorylation in the sex body.

The Expression Profile of the Major Mouse SPO11 Isoforms Indicates That SPO11beta Introduces Double Strand Breaks and Suggests That SPO11alpha Has an Additional Role in Prophase in Both Spermatocytes and Oocytes

Molecular and Cellular Biology. Sep, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20647542

Both in mice and humans, two major SPO11 isoforms are generated by alternative splicing: SPO11alpha (exon 2 skipped) and SPO11beta. Thus, the alternative splicing event must have emerged before the mouse and human lineages diverged and was maintained during 90 million years of evolution, arguing for an essential role for both isoforms. Here we demonstrate that developmental regulation of alternative splicing at the Spo11 locus governs the sequential expression of SPO11 isoforms in male meiotic prophase. Protein quantification in juvenile mice and in prophase mutants indicates that early spermatocytes synthesize primarily SPO11beta. Estimation of the number of SPO11 dimers (betabeta/alphabeta/alphaalpha) in mutants in which spermatocytes undergo a normal number of double strand breaks but arrest in midprophase due to inefficient repair argues for a role for SPO11beta-containing dimers in introducing the breaks in leptonema. Expression kinetics in males suggested a role for SPO11alpha in pachytene/diplotene spermatocytes. Nevertheless, we found that both alternative transcripts can be detected in oocytes throughout prophase I, arguing against a male-specific function for this isoform. Altogether, our data support a role for SPO11alpha in mid- to late prophase, presumably acting as a topoisomerase, that would be conserved in male and female meiocytes.

Homologous Pairing Preceding SPO11-mediated Double-strand Breaks in Mice

Developmental Cell. Jan, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 23318132

How homologous chromosomes (homologs) find their partner, pair, and recombine during meiosis constitutes the central phenomenon in eukaryotic genetics. It is widely believed that, in most organisms, SPO11-mediated DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) introduced during prophase I precede and are required for efficient homolog pairing. We now show that, in the mouse, a significant level of homolog pairing precedes programmed DNA cleavage. Strikingly, this early chromosome pairing still requires SPO11 but is not dependent on its ability to make DSBs or homologous recombination proteins. Intriguingly, SUN1, a protein required for telomere attachment to the nuclear envelope and for post-DSB synapsis, is also required for early pre-DSB homolog pairing. Furthermore, pre-DSB pairing at telomeres persists upon entry into prophase I and is most likely important for initiation of synapsis. Our findings suggest that the DSB-triggered homology search may mainly serve to proofread and stabilize the pre-DSB pairing of homologous chromosomes.

The DNA Translocase FANCM/MHF Promotes Replication Traverse of DNA Interstrand Crosslinks

Molecular Cell. Nov, 2013  |  Pubmed ID: 24207054

The replicative machinery encounters many impediments, some of which can be overcome by lesion bypass or replication restart pathways, leaving repair for a later time. However, interstrand crosslinks (ICLs), which preclude DNA unwinding, are considered absolute blocks to replication. Current models suggest that fork collisions, either from one or both sides of an ICL, initiate repair processes required for resumption of replication. To test these proposals, we developed a single-molecule technique for visualizing encounters of replication forks with ICLs as they occur in living cells. Surprisingly, the most frequent patterns were consistent with replication traverse of an ICL, without lesion repair. The traverse frequency was strongly reduced by inactivation of the translocase and DNA binding activities of the FANCM/MHF complex. The results indicate that translocase-based mechanisms enable DNA synthesis to continue past ICLs and that these lesions are not always absolute blocks to replication.

The Dual Role of HOP2 in Mammalian Meiotic Homologous Recombination

Nucleic Acids Research. Feb, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24304900

Deletion of Hop2 in mice eliminates homologous chromosome synapsis and disrupts double-strand break (DSB) repair through homologous recombination. HOP2 in vitro shows two distinctive activities: when it is incorporated into a HOP2-MND1 complex it stimulates DMC1 and RAD51 recombination activities and the purified HOP2 alone is proficient in promoting strand invasion. We observed that a fraction of Mnd1(-/-) spermatocytes, which express HOP2 but apparently have inactive DMC1 and RAD51 due to lack of the HOP2-MND1 complex, exhibits a high level of chromosome synapsis and that most DSBs in these spermatocytes are repaired. This suggests that DSB repair catalyzed solely by HOP2 supports homologous chromosome pairing and synapsis. In addition, we show that in vitro HOP2 promotes the co-aggregation of ssDNA with duplex DNA, binds to ssDNA leading to unstacking of the bases, and promotes the formation of a three-strand synaptic intermediate. However, HOP2 shows distinctive mechanistic signatures as a recombinase. Namely, HOP2-mediated strand exchange does not require ATP and, in contrast to DMC1, joint molecules formed by HOP2 are more sensitive to mismatches and are efficiently dissociated by RAD54. We propose that HOP2 may act as a recombinase with specific functions in meiosis.

Integrated Transcriptome Analysis of Mouse Spermatogenesis

BMC Genomics. Jan, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24438502

Differentiation of primordial germ cells into mature spermatozoa proceeds through multiple stages, one of the most important of which is meiosis. Meiotic recombination is in turn a key part of meiosis. To achieve the highly specialized and diverse functions necessary for the successful completion of meiosis and the generation of spermatozoa thousands of genes are coordinately regulated through spermatogenesis. A complete and unbiased characterization of the transcriptome dynamics of spermatogenesis is, however, still lacking.

Single Molecule Analysis of Laser Localized Interstrand Crosslinks

Frontiers in Genetics. 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 27242893

DNA interstrand crosslinks (ICLs) block unwinding of the double helix, and have always been regarded as major challenges to replication and transcription. Compounds that form these lesions are very toxic and are frequently used in cancer chemotherapy. We have developed two strategies, both based on immunofluorescence (IF), for studying cellular responses to ICLs. The basis of each is psoralen, a photoactive (by long wave ultraviolet light, UVA) DNA crosslinking agent, to which we have linked an antigen tag. In the one approach, we have taken advantage of DNA fiber and immuno-quantum dot technologies for visualizing the encounter of replication forks with ICLs induced by exposure to UVA lamps. In the other, psoralen ICLs are introduced into nuclei in live cells in regions of interest defined by a UVA laser. The antigen tag can be displayed by conventional IF, as can the recruitment and accumulation of DNA damage response proteins to the laser localized ICLs. However, substantial difference between the technologies creates considerable uncertainty as to whether conclusions from one approach are applicable to those of the other. In this report, we have employed the fiber/quantum dot methodology to determine lesion density and spacing on individual DNA molecules carrying laser localized ICLs. We have performed the same measurements on DNA fibers with ICLs induced by exposure of psoralen to UVA lamps. Remarkably, we find little difference in the adduct distribution on fibers prepared from cells exposed to the different treatment protocols. Furthermore, there is considerable similarity in patterns of replication in the vicinity of the ICLs introduced by the two techniques.

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