Nucleosome occupancy landscape and dynamics at mouse recombination hotspots

EMBO Rep. 2010 Jul;11(7):555-60. doi: 10.1038/embor.2010.79. Epub 2010 May 28.


During meiosis, paternal and maternal homologous chromosomes recombine at specific recombination sites named hotspots. What renders 2% of the mammalian genomes permissive to meiotic recombination by allowing Spo11 endonuclease to initiate double-strand breaks is largely unknown. Work in yeast has shown that chromatin accessibility seems to be important for this activity. Here, we define nucleosome profiles and dynamics at four mouse recombination hotspots by purifying highly enriched fractions of meiotic cells. We found that nucleosome occupancy is generally stable during meiosis progression. Interestingly, the cores of recombination hotspots have largely open chromatin structure, and the localization of the few nucleosomes present in these cores correlates precisely with the crossover-free zones in recombinogenic domains. Collectively, these high-resolution studies suggest that nucleosome occupancy seems to direct, at least in part, how meiotic recombination events are processed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chromatin / metabolism
  • Meiosis / genetics*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Inbred DBA
  • Nucleosomes / chemistry
  • Nucleosomes / metabolism*
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Chromatin
  • Nucleosomes