Mouse strains with an active H2-Ea meiotic recombination hot spot exhibit increased levels of H2-Ea-specific DNA breaks in testicular germ cells.

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DNA-Damage, Female, Germ-Cells, H-2-Antigens, Haplotypes, Heterozygote, Male, Meiosis, Mice, Molecular-Sequence-Data, Recombination-Genetic, SUPPORT-U-S-GOVT-P-H-S, Testis

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Mol Cell Biol 2004 Feb; 24(4):1655-66.


We devised a sensitive method for the site-specific detection of rare meiotic DNA strand breaks in germ cell-enriched testicular cell populations from mice that possess or lack an active recombination hot spot at the H2-Ea gene. Using germ cells from adult animals, we found an excellent correlation between the frequency of DNA breaks in the 418-bp H2-Ea hot spot and crossover activity. The temporal appearance of DNA breaks was also studied in 7- to 18-day-old mice with an active hot spot during the first waves of spermatogenesis. The number of DNA breaks detected rose as leptotene and zygotene spermatocytes populate the testis with a peak at day 14 postpartum, when leptotene, zygotene, and early pachytene spermatocytes are the most common meiotic prophase I cell types. The number of DNA breaks drops precipitously 1 day later, when middle to late pachytene spermatocytes become the dominant subtype. The recombination-related breaks in the hot spot likely reflect SPO11-induced double-strand breaks and/or recombination intermediates containing free 3' hydroxyl groups.