PR domain-containing protein 9 (PRDM9) is a major regulator of the localization of meiotic recombination hotspots in the human and mouse genomes. This role involves its DNA-binding domain, which is composed of a tandem array of zinc fingers, and PRDM9-dependent trimethylation of histone H3 at lysine 4. PRDM9 is a member of the PRDM family of transcription regulators, but unlike other family members, it contains a Krüppel-associated box (KRAB)-related domain that is predicted to be a potential protein interaction domain. Here, we show that truncation of the KRAB domain of mouse PRDM9 leads to loss of PRDM9 function and altered meiotic prophase and gametogenesis. In addition, we identified proteins that interact with the KRAB domain of PRDM9 in yeast two-hybrid assay screens, particularly CXXC1, a member of the COMPASS complex. We also show that CXXC1 interacts with IHO1, an essential component of the meiotic double-strand break (DSB) machinery. As CXXC1 is orthologous to Saccharomyces cerevisiae Spp1 that links DSB sites to the DSB machinery on the chromosome axis, we propose that these molecular interactions involved in the regulation of meiotic DSB formation are conserved in mouse meiosis.
Keywords: CXXC1; IHO1; Meiosis; PRDM9 KRAB domain; Protein interactions; Recombination.