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Chromatin landscape, DSB levels, and cKU-70/80 contribute to patterning of meiotic DSB processing along chromosomes in C. elegans

by Laura I. Lascarez-Lagunas, Marina Martinez-Garcia, Saravanapriah Nadarajan, Brianna N. Diaz-Pacheco, Elizaveta Berson, Mónica P. Colaiácovo

Programmed DNA double-strand break (DSB) formation is essential for achieving accurate chromosome segregation during meiosis. DSB repair timing and template choice are tightly regulated. However, little is known about how DSB distribution and the choice of repair pathway are regulated along the length of chromosomes, which has direct effects on the recombination landscape and chromosome remodeling at late prophase I. Here, we use the spatiotemporal resolution of meiosis in the Caenorhabditis elegans germline along with genetic approaches to study distribution of DSB processing and its regulation. High-resolution imaging of computationally straightened chromosomes immunostained for the RAD-51 recombinase marking DSB repair sites reveals that the pattern of RAD-51 foci throughout pachytene resembles crossover distribution in wild type. Specifically, RAD-51 foci occur primarily along the gene-poor distal thirds of the chromosomes in both early and late pachytene, and on both the X and the autosomes. However, this biased off-center distribution can be abrogated by the formation of excess DSBs. Reduced condensin function, but not an increase in total physical axial length, results in a homogeneous distribution of RAD-51 foci, whereas regulation of H3K9 methylation is required for the enrichment of RAD-51 at off-center positions. Finally, the DSB recognition heterodimer cKU-70/80, but not the non-homologous end-joining canonical ligase LIG-4, contributes to the enriched off-center distribution of RAD-51 foci. Taken together, our data supports a model by which regulation of the chromatin landscape, DSB levels, and DSB detection by cKU-70/80 collaborate to promote DSB processing by homologous recombination at off-center regions of the chromosomes in C. elegans.

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