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PLoS Genet. 2013;9(2):e1003276. doi: 10.1371/journal.pgen.1003276. Epub 2013 Feb 7.

COM-1 promotes homologous recombination during Caenorhabditis elegans meiosis by antagonizing Ku-mediated non-homologous end joining.

Author information

1
Department of Toxicogenetics, Leiden University Medical Center (LUMC), Leiden, The Netherlands.

Abstract

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.

PMID:
23408909
PMCID:
PMC3567172
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pgen.1003276
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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