Cellular and Molecular Life Sciences
The RNA-binding protein FUS/TLS interacts with SPO11 and PRDM9 and localize at meiotic recombination hotspots
Teresa Giannattasio, Erika Testa, Ramona Palombo, Lidia Chellini, Flavia Franceschini, Álvaro Crevenna, Petko M. Petkov, Maria Paola Paronetto & Marco Barchi
In mammals, meiotic recombination is initiated by the introduction of DNA double strand breaks (DSBs) into narrow segments of the genome, defined as hotspots, which is carried out by the SPO11/TOPOVIBL complex. A major player in the specification of hotspots is PRDM9, a histone methyltransferase that, following sequence-specific DNA binding, generates trimethylation on lysine 4 (H3K4me3) and lysine 36 (H3K36me3) of histone H3, thus defining the hotspots. PRDM9 activity is key to successful meiosis, since in its absence DSBs are redirected to functional sites and synapsis between homologous chromosomes fails. One protein factor recently implicated in guiding PRDM9 activity at hotspots is EWS, a member of the FET family of proteins that also includes TAF15 and FUS/TLS. Here, we demonstrate that FUS/TLS partially colocalizes with PRDM9 on the meiotic chromosome axes, marked by the synaptonemal complex component SYCP3, and physically interacts with PRDM9. Furthermore, we show that FUS/TLS also interacts with REC114, one of the axis-bound SPO11-auxiliary factors essential for DSB formation. This finding suggests that FUS/TLS is a component of the protein complex that promotes the initiation of meiotic recombination. Accordingly, we document that FUS/TLS coimmunoprecipitates with SPO11 in vitro and in vivo. The interaction occurs with both SPO11β and SPO11α splice isoforms, which are believed to play distinct functions in the formation of DSBs in autosomes and male sex chromosomes, respectively. Finally, using chromatin immunoprecipitation experiments, we show that FUS/TLS is localized at H3K4me3-marked hotspots in autosomes and in the pseudo-autosomal region, the site of genetic exchange between the XY chromosomes.