Sex chromosome inactivation in germ cells: emerging roles of DNA damage response pathways
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- Ichijima, Y., Sin, H. & Namekawa, S.H. Cell. Mol. Life Sci. (2012) 69: 2559. doi:10.1007/s00018-012-0941-5
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Sex chromosome inactivation in male germ cells is a paradigm of epigenetic programming during sexual reproduction. Recent progress has revealed the underlying mechanisms of sex chromosome inactivation in male meiosis. The trigger of chromosome-wide silencing is activation of the DNA damage response (DDR) pathway, which is centered on the mediator of DNA damage checkpoint 1 (MDC1), a binding partner of phosphorylated histone H2AX (γH2AX). This DDR pathway shares features with the somatic DDR pathway recognizing DNA replication stress in the S phase. Additionally, it is likely to be distinct from the DDR pathway that recognizes meiosis-specific double-strand breaks. This review article extensively discusses the underlying mechanism of sex chromosome inactivation.