Mammalian meiosis involves DNA double-strand breaks with 3′ overhangs
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- Zenvirth, D., Richler, C., Bardhan, A. et al. Chromosoma (2003) 111: 369. doi:10.1007/s00412-002-0223-3
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Meiotic recombination in yeast is initiated at DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs), processed into 3′ single-strand overhangs that are active in homology search, repair and formation of recombinant molecules. Are 3′ overhangs recombination intermediaries in mouse germ cells too? To answer this question we developed a novel approach based on the properties of the Klenow enzyme. We carried out two different, successive in situ Klenow enzyme-based reactions on sectioned preparations of testicular tubules. Signals showing 3′ overhangs were observed during wild-type mouse spermatogenesis, but not in Spo11−/− males, which lack meiotic DSBs. In Atm−/− mice, abundant positively stained spermatocytes were present, indicating an accumulation of non-repaired DSBs, suggesting the involvement of ATM in repair of meiotic DSBs. Thus the processing of DSBs into 3′ overhangs is common to meiotic cells in mammals and yeast, and probably in all eukaryotes.