Parent Category: Laboratoires Published: Thursday, 16 February 2012

Meiosis and Recombination



 Bernard DE MASSY


 IGH - UMR 9004

 141, rue de la Cradonille, 34396 Montpellier


Phone:+33 4 34 35 99 72







Our group is working on a key event for most sexually reproducing species: recombination during meiosis. We aim to understand the molecular mechanism and regulation of meiotic recombination using mouse as a model system. In particular, during mammalian meiosis, several hundreds of DNA double strand breaks are induced to initiate exchanges between chromosomes. How are these DNA breaks generated and regulated is one major issue in the field and is at the heart of our projects. Taking advantage of unique approaches in bioinformatics and complementary strategies in mouse genetics and cytology, we have recently made two major breakthroughs, first with the identification of two conserved proteins families (Rec114 and Mei4) and second with the discovery of the protein (PRDM9) that determines where the DNA breaks take place on the genome. These finding provides a molecular basis and a model for initiation of meiotic recombination with implications on genome stability and evolution in mammals.


Keywords: Meiosis, recombination, reproduction, epigenetics, genome stability



Main publications

  • Robert T., Nore A., Brun C., Maffre C., Crimi B., Guichard V., Bourbon H-M* and de Massy B.* (2016) The TopoVIB-Like protein family is required for meiotic DNA double strand break formation. . Science 351, 943 (Feb 26, 2016).
  • Jérôme Buard 1,*, Eric Rivals 2,4, Denis Dunoyer de Segonzac 1,3, Charlotte Garres 1,3, Pierre Caminade 3, Bernard de Massy 1 and Pierre Boursot 3 (2014) Diversity of Prdm9 Zinc finger array in wild mice unravels new facets of the evolutionary turnover of this coding minisatellite. PLoS ONE 9(1): e85021.
  • Cole F, Baudat F, Grey C, Keeney S*, de Massy B*, Jasin M* (2014) Mouse tetrad analysis provides insights into recombination mechanisms and hotspot evolutionary dynamics. Nat Genet 46: 1072-1080.
  • Kumar, R., Ghyselinck, N., Ishiguro, K.I., Watanabe, Y., Kouznetsova, A., Hoog, C., Strong, E., Schimenti, J., Daniel, K., Toth, A., et al. (2015). MEI4: a central player in the regulation of meiotic DNA double strand break formation in the mouse. J Cell Sci. 128, 1800-1811.
  • Wu H., Mathioudakis N., Diagouraga B., Dong A.,  Dombrovski A., Baudat F., Cusack S., de Massy* B. and Kadlec* J. (2013) Molecular basis for the regulation of the H3K4 methyltransferase activity of PRDM9 Cell Rep 5: 13-20.
  • Baudat F, Imai Y, de Massy B (2013) Meiotic recombination in mammals: localization and regulation. Nat Rev Genet 14: 794-806.
  • de Massy B. (2013) Initiation of meiotic recombination: how and where? Conservation and specificities among eukaryotes. Annual Review of Genetics 47:563-99.
  • Borde V. and de Massy B. (2013) Programmed induction of DNA double strand breaks during meiosis: Setting up communication between DNA and the chromosome structure. Current Opinion in Genetics & Development 23, pp. 147-155.
  • Grey C, Barthès P, Chauveau-Le Friec G, Langa F, Baudat F and de Massy B. (2011) Mouse PRDM9 DNA-Binding Specificity Determines Sites of Histone H3 Lysine 4 Trimethylation for Initiation of Meiotic Recombination. PLoS Biol 9(10): e1001176.
  • Baudat, F. *,  Buard, J. *, Grey, C.*, Fledel-Alon, A., Ober, C., Przeworski, M., Coop, G. and de Massy B. (2010) PRDM9 is a Major Determinant of Meiotic Recombination Hotspots in humans and mice. Science. Feb 12;327(5967):836-40.

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