PRDM9 and Its Role in Genetic Recombination

Trends Genet. 2018 Apr;34(4):291-300. doi: 10.1016/j.tig.2017.12.017. Epub 2018 Jan 21.


PRDM9 is a zinc finger protein that binds DNA at specific locations in the genome where it trimethylates histone H3 at lysines 4 and 36 at surrounding nucleosomes. During meiosis in many species, including humans and mice where PRDM9 has been most intensely studied, these actions determine the location of recombination hotspots, where genetic recombination occurs. In addition, PRDM9 facilitates the association of hotspots with the chromosome axis, the site of the programmed DNA double-strand breaks (DSBs) that give rise to genetic exchange between chromosomes. In the absence of PRDM9 DSBs are not properly repaired. Collectively, these actions determine patterns of genetic linkage and the possibilities for chromosome reorganization over successive generations.

Keywords: PRDM9; meiosis; recombination.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • DNA Breaks, Double-Stranded
  • Eukaryotic Cells / cytology
  • Eukaryotic Cells / enzymology
  • Genome*
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / genetics*
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase / metabolism
  • Histones / genetics*
  • Histones / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Isoenzymes / genetics
  • Isoenzymes / metabolism
  • Meiosis*
  • Methylation
  • Mice
  • Nucleosomes / enzymology
  • Nucleosomes / genetics
  • Protein Domains
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Histones
  • Isoenzymes
  • Nucleosomes
  • Histone-Lysine N-Methyltransferase
  • PRDM9 protein, human