Heritability and genome stability are shaped by meiotic recombination, which is initiated via hundreds of DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs). The distribution of DSBs throughout the genome is not random, but mechanisms molding this landscape remain poorly understood. Here, we exploit genome-wide maps of mouse DSBs at unprecedented nucleotide resolution to uncover previously invisible spatial features of recombination. At fine scale, we reveal a stereotyped hotspot structure-DSBs occur within narrow zones between methylated nucleosomes-and identify relationships between SPO11, chromatin, and the histone methyltransferase PRDM9. At large scale, DSB formation is suppressed on non-homologous portions of the sex chromosomes via the DSB-responsive kinase ATM, which also shapes the autosomal DSB landscape at multiple size scales. We also provide a genome-wide analysis of exonucleolytic DSB resection lengths and elucidate spatial relationships between DSBs and recombination products. Our results paint a comprehensive picture of features governing successive steps in mammalian meiotic recombination.
Keywords: DNA damage; DNA repair; PRDM9; SPO11; chromatin; double-strand break; homologous recombination; meiosis; mouse; resection.
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