The Proper Interplay Between the Expression of Spo11 Splice Isoforms and the Structure of the Pseudoautosomal Region Promotes Xy Chromosomes Recombination
Teresa Giannattasio, Erika Testa, Monica Faieta, Matteo Lampitto, Daniela Nardozi, Stefano Di Cecca, Antonella Russo, Marco Barchi
XY missegregation, meiotic recombination, sex chromosomes, meiosis, aneuploidy, splicing, chromosome structure
XY chromosome missegregation is relatively common in humans and can lead to sterility or the generation of aneuploid spermatozoa. A leading cause of XY missegregation in mammals is the lack of formation of double-strand breaks (DSBs) in the pseudo-autosomal region (PAR), a defect that may occur in mice due to faulty expression of Spo11 splice isoforms. Using a knock-in (ki) mouse that expresses only the single Spo11β splice isoform, here we demonstrate that by varying the genetic background of mice, the length of chromatin loops extending from the PAR axis and the XY recombination proficiency varies. In spermatocytes of C57Spo11βki/- mice, in which loops are relatively short, recombination/synapsis between XY is fairly normal. In contrast, in cells of C57/129Spo11βki/- males where PAR loops are relatively long, formation of DSBs in the PAR (more frequently the Y-PAR) and XY synapsis fails at a high rate, and mice produce sperm with sex-chromosomal aneuploidy. However, if the entire set of Spo11 splicing isoforms is expressed by a wild type allele in the C57/129 background, XY recombination and synapsis is recovered. By generating a Spo11αki mouse model, we prove that concomitant expression of SPO11β and SPO11α isoforms, boosts DSB formation in the PAR. Based on these findings, we propose that SPO11 splice isoforms cooperate functionally in promoting recombination in the PAR, constraining XY asynapsis defects that may arise due to differences in the conformation of the PAR between mouse strains.