, Volume 128, Issue 3, pp 369–383 | Cite as

SIRT7 promotes chromosome synapsis during prophase I of female meiosis

  • Berta N. Vazquez
  • Cecilia S. Blengini
  • Yurdiana Hernandez
  • Lourdes Serrano
  • Karen SchindlerEmail author
Original Article


Sirtuins are NAD+-dependent protein deacylases and ADP-ribosyltransferases that are involved in a wide range of cellular processes including genome homeostasis and metabolism. Sirtuins are expressed in human and mouse oocytes yet their role during female gamete development are not fully understood. Here, we investigated the role of a mammalian sirtuin member, SIRT7, in oocytes using a mouse knockout (KO) model. Sirt7 KO females have compromised fecundity characterized by a rapid fertility decline with age, suggesting the existence of a diminished oocyte pool. Accordingly, Sirt7 KO females produced fewer oocytes and ovulated fewer eggs. Because of the documented role of SIRT7 in DNA repair, we investigated whether SIRT7 regulates prophase I when meiotic recombination occurs. Sirt7 KO pachynema-like staged oocytes had approximately twofold increased γH2AX signals associated with regions with unsynapsed chromosomes. Consistent with the presence of asynaptic chromosome regions, Sirt7 KO oocytes had fewer MLH1 foci (~one less), a mark of crossover-mediated repair, than WT oocytes. Moreover, this reduced level of crossing over is consistent with an observed twofold increased incidence of aneuploidy in Metaphase II eggs. In addition, we found that acetylated lysine 18 of histone H3 (H3K18ac), an established SIRT7 substrate, was increased at asynaptic chromosome regions suggesting a functional relationship between this epigenetic mark and chromosome synapsis. Taken together, our findings demonstrate a pivotal role for SIRT7 in oocyte meiosis by promoting chromosome synapsis and have unveiled the importance of SIRT7 as novel regulator of the reproductive lifespan.


Meiosis Synapsis Sirtuin SIRT7 Oocyte Histone acetylation 



The authors thank Jay Tischfield for the project support, Karen Berkowitz for the technical advice and helpful discussions, Kim McKim and Alejandro Vaquero for critical reading of the manuscript, and Marianne Polunas for processing ovarian tissues.

Funding information

This study was supported by a grant from the Human Genetics Institute of New Jersey and an NIH grant to KS (R01-GM112801).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of GeneticsRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA

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