Research Article

The TopoVIB-Like protein family is required for meiotic DNA double-strand break formation

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Science  26 Feb 2016:
Vol. 351, Issue 6276, pp. 943-949
DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5309

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A partner protein for meiotic snip

Eukaryotes generate germ cells through meiotic recombination. This process initiates through breaks in genomic DNA catalyzed by the SPO11 protein. Vrielynck et al. and Robert et al. discover that SPO11, like topoisomerase VI enzymes, interacts with a partner protein (see the Perspective by Bouuaert and Keeney). This partner is required for proper meiotic recombination and is found in a wide range of eukaryotes, suggesting that it is a universal feature of the essential recombination step.

Science, this issue p. 939, 943; see also p. 916


Meiotic recombination is induced by the formation of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) catalyzed by SPO11, the ortholog of subunit A of TopoVI DNA topoisomerase (TopoVIA). TopoVI activity requires the interaction between A and B subunits. We identified a conserved family of plant and animal proteins [the TOPOVIB-Like (TOPOVIBL) family] that share strong structural similarity to the TopoVIB subunit of TopoVI DNA topoisomerase. We further characterize the meiotic recombination proteins Rec102 (Saccharomyces cerevisiae), Rec6 (Schizosaccharomyces pombe), and MEI-P22 (Drosophila melanogaster) as homologs to the transducer domain of TopoVIB. We demonstrate that the mouse TOPOVIBL protein interacts and forms a complex with SPO11 and is required for meiotic DSB formation. We conclude that meiotic DSBs are catalyzed by a complex involving SPO11 and TOPOVIBL.

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