Reversal of Female Infertility by Chk2 Ablation Reveals the Oocyte DNA Damage Checkpoint Pathway

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Science  31 Jan 2014:
Vol. 343, Issue 6170, pp. 533-536
DOI: 10.1126/science.1247671

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Eggs Well Done

Germ cells can endure extensive DNA damage during their development. Programmed meiotic double-strand breaks (DSBs) are essential for proper segregation of chromosomes to oocytes and sperm. However, incomplete DSB repair by recombination activates a checkpoint that triggers cell death. Exogenous DNA damage is also lethal to oocytes via a highly sensitive checkpoint. Bolcun-Filas et al. (p. 533) show that the CHK2 kinase is a key component of both checkpoints in mouse oocytes. Deletion of Chk2 restored fertility to females that would otherwise be sterile because of a meiotic recombination mutation or radiation exposure.