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Dev Biol. 2009 Jul 15;331(2):326-38. doi: 10.1016/j.ydbio.2009.05.550. Epub 2009 May 19.

Persistence of histone H2AX phosphorylation after meiotic chromosome synapsis and abnormal centromere cohesion in poly (ADP-ribose) polymerase (Parp-1) null oocytes.

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Department of Clinical Studies, Center for Animal Transgenesis and Germ Cell Research, University of Pennsylvania, New Bolton Center, Kennett Square, 19348, USA.


In spite of the impact of aneuploidy on human health little is known concerning the molecular mechanisms involved in the formation of structural or numerical chromosome abnormalities during meiosis. Here, we provide novel evidence indicating that lack of PARP-1 function during oogenesis predisposes the female gamete to genome instability. During prophase I of meiosis, a high proportion of Parp-1((-/-)) mouse oocytes exhibit a spectrum of meiotic defects including incomplete homologous chromosome synapsis or persistent histone H2AX phosphorylation in fully synapsed chromosomes at the late pachytene stage. Moreover, the X chromosome bivalent is also prone to exhibit persistent double strand DNA breaks (DSBs). In striking contrast, such defects were not detected in mutant pachytene spermatocytes. In fully-grown wild type oocytes at the germinal vesicle stage, PARP-1 protein associates with nuclear speckles and upon meiotic resumption, undergoes a striking re-localization towards spindle poles as well as pericentric heterochromatin domains at the metaphase II stage. Notably, a high proportion of in vivo matured Parp-1((-/-)) oocytes show lack of recruitment of the kinetochore-associated protein BUB3 to centromeric domains and fail to maintain metaphase II arrest. Defects in chromatin modifications in the form of persistent histone H2AX phosphorylation during prophase I of meiosis and deficient sister chromatid cohesion during metaphase II predispose mutant oocytes to premature anaphase II onset upon removal from the oviductal environment. Our results indicate that PARP-1 plays a critical role in the maintenance of chromosome stability at key stages of meiosis in the female germ line. Moreover, in the metaphase II stage oocyte PARP-1 is required for the regulation of centromere structure and function through a mechanism that involves the recruitment of BUB3 protein to centromeric domains.

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