MEI4 – a central player in the regulation of meiotic DNA double-strand break formation in the mouse

J Cell Sci. 2015 May 1;128(9):1800-11. doi: 10.1242/jcs.165464. Epub 2015 Mar 20.


The formation of programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) at the beginning of meiotic prophase marks the initiation of meiotic recombination. Meiotic DSB formation is catalyzed by SPO11 and their repair takes place on meiotic chromosome axes. The evolutionarily conserved MEI4 protein is required for meiotic DSB formation and is localized on chromosome axes. Here, we show that HORMAD1, one of the meiotic chromosome axis components, is required for MEI4 localization. Importantly, the quantitative correlation between the level of axis-associated MEI4 and DSB formation suggests that axis-associated MEI4 could be a limiting factor for DSB formation. We also show that MEI1, REC8 and RAD21L are important for proper MEI4 localization. These findings on MEI4 dynamics during meiotic prophase suggest that the association of MEI4 to chromosome axes is required for DSB formation, and that the loss of this association upon DSB repair could contribute to turning off meiotic DSB formation.

Keywords: DNA double strand break; Meiosis; Recombination; Synapsis.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing / metabolism
  • Animals
  • Cell Cycle Proteins / metabolism
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / metabolism
  • Chromosome Pairing
  • Chromosomes, Mammalian / metabolism
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded*
  • Meiosis*
  • Meiotic Prophase I
  • Mice
  • Nuclear Proteins / metabolism
  • Phosphoproteins / metabolism
  • Protein Subunits / metabolism
  • Protein Transport
  • Time Factors
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases / metabolism*


  • Adaptor Proteins, Signal Transducing
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Nohma protein, mouse
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Phosphoproteins
  • Protein Subunits
  • Rec8 protein, mouse
  • Stra8 protein, mouse
  • cohesins
  • Ccnb1ip1 protein, mouse
  • Ubiquitin-Protein Ligases