BRUCE preserves genomic stability in the male germline of mice.

Cell death and differentiation (2020-03-07)
Lixiao Che, Kris G Alavattam, Peter J Stambrook, Satoshi H Namekawa, Chunying Du

BRUCE is a DNA damage response protein that promotes the activation of ATM and ATR for homologous recombination (HR) repair in somatic cells, making BRUCE a key protector of genomic stability. Preservation of genomic stability in the germline is essential for the maintenance of species. Here, we show that BRUCE is required for the preservation of genomic stability in the male germline of mice, specifically in spermatogonia and spermatocytes. Conditional knockout of Bruce in the male germline leads to profound defects in spermatogenesis, including impaired maintenance of spermatogonia and increased chromosomal anomalies during meiosis. Bruce-deficient pachytene spermatocytes frequently displayed persistent DNA breaks. Homologous synapsis was impaired, and nonhomologous associations and rearrangements were apparent in up to 10% of Bruce-deficient spermatocytes. Genomic instability was apparent in the form of chromosomal fragmentation, translocations, and synapsed quadrivalents and hexavalents. In addition, unsynapsed regions of rearranged autosomes were devoid of ATM and ATR signaling, suggesting an impairment in the ATM- and ATR-dependent DNA damage response of meiotic HR. Taken together, our study unveils crucial functions for BRUCE in the maintenance of spermatogonia and in the regulation of meiotic HR-functions that preserve the genomic stability of the male germline.

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