Ancestral grass karyotype reconstruction unravels new mechanisms of genome shuffling as a source of plant evolution.
Genome Res. 20:1545-57. Abstract
The comparison of the chromosome numbers of today's species with common reconstructed paleo-ancestors has led to intense speculation of how chromosomes have been rearranged over time in mammals. However, similar studies in plants with respect to genome evolution as well as molecular mechanisms leading to mosaic synteny blocks have been lacking due to relevant examples of evolutionary zooms from genomic sequences. Such studies require genomes of species that belong to the same family but are diverged to fall into different subfamilies. Our most important crops belong to the family of the grasses, where a number of genomes have now been sequenced. Based on detailed paleogenomics, using inference from n = 5-12 grass ancestral karyotypes (AGKs) in terms of gene content and order, we delineated sequence intervals comprising a complete set of junction break points of orthologous regions from rice, maize, sorghum, and Brachypodium genomes, representing three different subfamilies and different polyploidization events. By focusing on these sequence intervals, we could show that the chromosome number variation/reduction from the n = 12 common paleo-ancestor was driven by nonrandom centric double-strand break repair events. It appeared that the centromeric/telomeric illegitimate recombination between nonhomologous chromosomes led to nested chromosome fusions (NCFs) and synteny break points (SBPs). When intervals comprising NCFs were compared in their structure, we concluded that SBPs (1) were meiotic recombination hotspots, (2) corresponded to high sequence turnover loci through repeat invasion, and (3) might be considered as hotspots of evolutionary novelty that could act as a reservoir for producing adaptive phenotypes.
Aquatic phototrophs: efficient alternatives to land-based crops for biofuels.
Curr Opin Biotechnol. 19:235-40. Abstract
To mitigate some of the potentially deleterious environmental and agricultural consequences associated with current land-based-biofuel feedstocks, we propose the use of biofuels derived from aquatic microbial oxygenic photoautotrophs (AMOPs), more commonly known as cyanobacteria, algae, and diatoms. Herein we review their demonstrated productivity in mass culturing and aspects of their physiology that are particularly attractive for integration into renewable biofuel applications. Compared with terrestrial crops, AMOPs are inherently more efficient solar collectors, use less or no land, can be converted to liquid fuels using simpler technologies than cellulose, and offer secondary uses that fossil fuels do not provide. AMOPs pose a new set of technological challenges if they are to contribute as biofuel feedstocks.
Blood lead concentrations in a remote Himalayan population.
Science (New York, NY). 210:1135-7. Abstract
The lead content in the air at the foothills of the Himalayas in Nepal was found to be negligible. The concentration of lead in the blood of 103 children and adults living in this region was found to average 3.4 micrograms per deciliter, a level substantially lower than that found in industrialized populations.
A BMP homolog acts as a dose-dependent regulator of body size and male tail patterning in Caenorhabditis elegans.
Development (Cambridge, England). 126:241-250.. Abstract
We cloned the dbl-1 gene, a C. elegans homolog of Drosophila decapentaplegic and vertebrate BMP genes. Loss-of-function mutations in dbl-1 cause markedly reduced body size and defective male copulatory structures. Conversely, dbl-1 overexpression causes markedly increased body size and partly complementary male tail phenotypes, indicating that DBL-1 acts as a dose-dependent regulator of these processes. Evidence from genetic interactions indicates that these effects are mediated by a Smad signaling pathway, for which DBL-1 is a previously unidentified ligand. Our study of the dbl-1 expression pattern suggests a role for neuronal cells in global size regulation as well as male tail patterning.
BMP signaling is required for controlling somatic stem cell self-renewal in the Drosophila ovary.
Developmental cell. 9:651-62. Abstract
BMP signaling is essential for promoting self-renewal of mouse embryonic stem cells and Drosophila germline stem cells and for repressing stem cell proliferation in the mouse intestine and skin. However, it remains unknown whether BMP signaling can promote self-renewal of adult somatic stem cells. In this study, we show that BMP signaling is necessary and sufficient for promoting self-renewal and proliferation of somatic stem cells (SSCs) in the Drosophila ovary. BMP signaling is required in SSCs to directly control their maintenance and division, but is dispensable for proliferation of their differentiated progeny. Furthermore, BMP signaling is required to control SSC self-renewal, but not survival. Moreover, constitutive BMP signaling prolongs the SSC lifespan. Therefore, our study clearly demonstrates that BMP signaling directly promotes SSC self-renewal and proliferation in the Drosophila ovary. Our work further suggests that BMP signaling could promote self-renewal of adult stem cells in other systems.
C. elegans serine-threonine kinase KIN-29 modulates TGFβ signaling and regulates body size formation.
BMC developmental biology. 5:8. Abstract
BACKGROUND: In C. elegans there are two well-defined TGFbeta-like signaling pathways. The Sma/Mab pathway affects body size morphogenesis, male tail development and spicule formation while the Daf pathway regulates entry into and exit out of the dauer state. To identify additional factors that modulate TGFbeta signaling in the Sma/Mab pathway, we have undertaken a genetic screen for small animals and have identified kin-29. RESULTS: kin-29 encodes a protein with a cytoplasmic serine-threonine kinase and a novel C-terminal domain. The kinase domain is a distantly related member of the EMK (ELKL motif kinase) family, which interacts with microtubules. We show that the serine-threonine kinase domain has in vitro activity. kin-29 mutations result in small animals, but do not affect male tail morphology as do several of the Sma/Mab signal transducers. Adult worms are smaller than the wild-type, but also develop more slowly. Rescue by kin-29 is achieved by expression in neurons or in the hypodermis. Interaction with the dauer pathway is observed in double mutant combinations, which have been seen with Sma/Mab pathway mutants. We show that kin-29 is epistatic to the ligand dbl-1, and lies upstream of the Sma/Mab pathway target gene, lon-1. CONCLUSION: kin-29 is a new modulator of the Sma/Mab pathway. It functions in neurons and in the hypodermis to regulate body size, but does not affect all TGFbeta outputs, such as tail morphogenesis.
Caenorhabditis elegans genes sma-2, sma-3, and sma-4 define a conserved family of transforming growth factor β pathway components.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 93:790-794. Abstract
Although transforming growth factor beta (TGF-beta) superfamily ligands play critical roles in diverse developmental processes, how cells transduce signals from these ligands is still poorly understood. Cell surface receptors for these ligands have been identified, but their cytoplasmic targets are unknown. We have identified three Caenorhabditis elegans genes, sma-2, sma-3, and sma-4, that have mutant phenotypes similar to those of the TGF-beta-like receptor gene daf-4, indicating that they are required for daf-4-mediated developmental processes. We show that sma-2 functions in the same cells as daf-4, consistent with a role in transducing signals from the receptor. These three genes define a protein family, the dwarfins, that includes the Mad gene product, which participates in the decapentaplegic TGF-beta-like pathway in Drosophila [Sekelsky, J. J., Newfeld, S. J., Raftery, L. A., Chartoff, E. H. & Gelbart, W. M. (1995) Genetics 139, 1347-1358]. The identification of homologous components of these pathways in distantly related organisms suggests that dwarfins may be universally required for TGF-beta-like signal transduction. In fact, we have isolated highly conserved dwarfins from vertebrates, indicating that these components are not idiosyncratic to invertebrates. These analyses suggest that dwarfins are conserved cytoplasmic signal transducers.
Caenorhabditis elegans pseudouridine synthase 1 activity in vivo: tRNA is a substrate, but not U2 small nuclear RNA.
The Biochemical journal. 372:595-602. Abstract
The formation of pseudouridine (Psi) from uridine is post-transcriptional and catalysed by pseudouridine synthases, several of which have been characterized from eukaryotes. Pseudouridine synthase 1 (Pus1p) has been well characterized from yeast and mice. In yeast, Pus1p has been shown to have dual substrate specificity, modifying uridines in tRNAs and at position 44 in U2 small nuclear RNA (U2 snRNA). In order to study the in vivo activity of a metazoan Pus1p, a knockout of the gene coding for the homologue of Pus1p in Caenorhabditis elegans was obtained. The deletion encompasses the first two putative exons and includes the essential aspartate that is required for activity in truA pseudouridine synthases. The locations of most modified nucleotides on small RNAs in C. elegans are not known, and the positions of Psi were determined on four tRNAs and U2 snRNA. The uridine at position 27 of tRNA(Val) (AAC), a putative Pus1p-modification site, was converted into Psi in the wild-type worms, but the tRNA(Val) (AAC) from mutant worms lacked the modification. Psi formation at positions 13, 32, 38 and 39, all of which should be modified by other pseudouridine synthases, was not affected by the loss of Pus1p. The absence of Pus1p in C. elegans had no effect on the modification of U2 snRNA in vivo, even though worm U2 snRNA has a Psi at position 45 (the equivalent of yeast U2 snRNA position 44) and at four other positions. This result was unexpected, given the known dual specificity of yeast Pus1p.
Caenorhabditis elegans SMA-10/LRIG is a conserved transmembrane protein that enhances bone morphogenetic protein signaling.
PLoS genetics. 6:e1000963. Abstract
Bone morphogenetic protein (BMP) pathways control an array of developmental and homeostatic events, and must themselves be exquisitely controlled. Here, we identify Caenorhabditis elegans SMA-10 as a positive extracellular regulator of BMP-like receptor signaling. SMA-10 acts genetically in a BMP-like (Sma/Mab) pathway between the ligand DBL-1 and its receptors SMA-6 and DAF-4. We cloned sma-10 and show that it has fifteen leucine-rich repeats and three immunoglobulin-like domains, hallmarks of an LRIG subfamily of transmembrane proteins. SMA-10 is required in the hypodermis, where the core Sma/Mab signaling components function. We demonstrate functional conservation of LRIGs by rescuing sma-10(lf) animals with the Drosophila ortholog lambik, showing that SMA-10 physically binds the DBL-1 receptors SMA-6 and DAF-4 and enhances signaling in vitro. This interaction is evolutionarily conserved, evidenced by LRIG1 binding to vertebrate receptors. We propose a new role for LRIG family members: the positive regulation of BMP signaling by binding both Type I and Type II receptors.
CARPEL FACTORY, a Dicer homolog, and HEN1, a novel protein, act in microRNA metabolism in Arabidopsis thaliana.
Current biology : CB. 12:1484-95. Abstract
BACKGROUND: In metazoans, microRNAs, or miRNAs, constitute a growing family of small regulatory RNAs that are usually 19-25 nucleotides in length. They are processed from longer precursor RNAs that fold into stem-loop structures by the ribonuclease Dicer and are thought to regulate gene expression by base pairing with RNAs of protein-coding genes. In Arabidopsis thaliana, mutations in CARPEL FACTORY (CAF), a Dicer homolog, and those in a novel gene, HEN1, result in similar, multifaceted developmental defects, suggesting a similar function of the two genes, possibly in miRNA metabolism.RESULTS: To investigate the potential functions of CAF and HEN1 in miRNA metabolism, we aimed to isolate miRNAs from Arabidopsis and examine their accumulation during plant development in wild-type plants and in hen1-1 and caf-1 mutant plants. We have isolated 11 miRNAs, some of which have potential homologs in tobacco, rice, and maize. The putative precursors of these miRNAs have the capacity to form stable stem-loop structures. The accumulation of these miRNAs appears to be spatially or temporally controlled in plant development, and their abundance is greatly reduced in caf-1 and hen1-1 mutants. HEN1 homologs are found in bacterial, fungal, and metazoan genomes.CONCLUSIONS: miRNAs are present in both plant and animal kingdoms. An evolutionarily conserved mechanism involving a protein, known as Dicer in animals and CAF in Arabidopsis, operates in miRNA metabolism. HEN1 is a new player in miRNA accumulation in Arabidopsis, and HEN1 homologs in metazoans may have a similar function. The developmental defects associated with caf-1 and hen1-1 mutations and the patterns of miRNA accumulation suggest that miRNAs play fundamental roles in plant development.
Circadian regulation of a limited set of conserved microRNAs in Drosophila.
BMC Genomics. 9:83. Abstract
BACKGROUND: MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are short non-coding RNA molecules that target mRNAs to control gene expression by attenuating the translational efficiency and stability of transcripts. They are found in a wide variety of organisms, from plants to insects and humans. Here, we use Drosophila to investigate the possibility that circadian clocks regulate the expression of miRNAs. RESULTS: We used a microarray platform to survey the daily levels of D. melanogaster miRNAs in adult heads of wildtype flies and the arrhythmic clock mutant cyc01. We find two miRNAs (dme-miR-263a and -263b) that exhibit robust daily changes in abundance in wildtype flies that are abolished in the cyc01 mutant. dme-miR-263a and -263b reach trough levels during the daytime, peak during the night and their levels are constitutively elevated in cyc01 flies. A similar pattern of cycling is also observed in complete darkness, further supporting circadian regulation. In addition, we identified several miRNAs that appear to be constitutively expressed but nevertheless differ in overall daily levels between control and cyc01 flies. CONCLUSION: The circadian clock regulates miRNA expression in Drosophila, although this appears to be highly restricted to a small number of miRNAs. A common mechanism likely underlies daily changes in the levels of dme-miR-263a and -263b. Our results suggest that cycling miRNAs contribute to daily changes in mRNA and/or protein levels in Drosophila. Intriguingly, the mature forms of dme-miR-263a and -263b are very similar in sequence to several miRNAs recently shown to be under circadian regulation in the mouse retina, suggesting conserved functions.
Conversion of a helix-turn-helix motif sequence-specific DNA binding protein into a site-specific DNA cleavage agent..
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 87(8):2882-6. Abstract
Escherichia coli catabolite gene activator protein (CAP) is a helix-turn-helix motif sequence-specific DNA binding protein [de Crombrugghe, B., Busby, S. & Buc, H. (1984) Science 224, 831-838; and Pabo, C. & Sauer, R. (1984) Annu. Rev. Biochem. 53, 293-321]. In this work, CAP has been converted into a site-specific DNA cleavage agent by incorporation of the chelator 1,10-phenanthroline at amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif. [(N-Acetyl-5-amino-1,10-phenanthroline)-Cys178]CAP binds to a 22-base-pair DNA recognition site with Kobs = 1 x 10(8) M-1. In the presence of Cu(II) and reducing agent, [(N-acetyl-5-amino-1,10-phenanthroline)-Cys178]CAP cleaves DNA at four adjacent nucleotides on each DNA strand within the DNA recognition site. The DNA cleavage reaction has been demonstrated using 40-base-pair and 7164-base-pair DNA substrates. The DNA cleavage reaction is not inhibited by dam methylation of the DNA substrate. Such semisynthetic site-specific DNA cleavage agents have potential applications in chromosome mapping, cloning, and sequencing.
Cross regulation of decapentaplegic and Ultrabithorax transcription in the embryonic visceral mesoderm of Drosophila.
Development (Cambridge, England). 117:1211-22. Abstract
The Drosophila decapentaplegic gene (dpp) encodes a TGF-beta family member involved in signal transduction during embryonic midgut formation. The shortvein (shv) class of cis-regulatory dpp mutants disrupt expression in parasegments 4 and 7 (ps4 and ps7) of the embryonic visceral mesoderm (VM) surrounding the gut and cause abnormalities in gut morphogenesis. We demonstrate that cis-regulatory elements directing expression in ps4 and ps7 are separable and identify DNA fragments that generate ps4 and ps7 expression patterns using reporter gene constructs. dpp reporter gene expression in both ps4 and ps7 is autoregulated as it requires endogenous dpp+ activity. Reporter gene ps7 expression requires the wild-type action of Ultra-bithorax (Ubx), and abdominal-A. Furthermore, the expression of certain Ubx reporter genes is coincident with dpp in the VM. Both the mis-expression of Ubx reporter genes in the developing gastric caecae at ps4 and its normal expression in ps7 are dependent upon endogenous dpp+ activity. We conclude that dpp both responds to and regulates Ubx in ps7 of the visceral mesoderm and that Ubx autoregulation within this tissue may be indirect as it requires more components than have previously been thought.
Crystal Structure of the DNA-binding Domain from Ndt80, a Transcriptional Activator Required for Meiosis in Yeast.
Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 99:14041-14046. Abstract
Ndt80 is a transcriptional activator required for meiosis in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Here, we report the crystal structure at 2.3 A resolution of the DNA-binding domain of Ndt80 experimentally phased by using the anomalous and isomorphous signal from a single ordered Se atom per molecule of 272-aa residues. The structure reveals a single approximately 32-kDa domain with a distinct fold comprising a beta-sandwich core elaborated with seven additional beta-sheets and three short alpha-helices. Inspired by the structure, we have performed a mutational analysis and defined a DNA-binding motif in this domain. The DNA-binding domain of Ndt80 is homologous to a number of proteins from higher eukaryotes, and the residues that we have shown are required for DNA binding by Ndt80 are highly conserved among this group of proteins. These results suggest that Ndt80 is the defining member of a previously uncharacterized family of transcription factors, including the human protein (C11orf9), which has been shown to be highly expressed in invasive or metastatic tumor cells.
Crystallographic Studies of a Novel DNA-binding Domain from the Yeast Transcriptional Activator Ndt80.
Acta Crystallogr D Biol Crystallogr. 58:2127-2130. Abstract
The Ndt80 protein is a transcriptional activator that plays a key role in the progression of the meiotic divisions in the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae. Ndt80 is strongly induced during the middle stages of the sporulation pathway and binds specifically to a promoter element called the MSE to activate transcription of genes required for the meiotic divisions. Here, the preliminary structural and functional studies to characterize the DNA-binding activity of this protein are reported. Through deletion analysis and limited proteolysis studies of Ndt80, a novel 32 kDa DNA-binding domain that is sufficient for DNA-binding in vitro has been defined. Crystals of the DNA-binding domain of Ndt80 in two distinct lattices have been obtained, for which diffraction data extend to 2.3 A resolution.
Determination of the orientation of a DNA binding motif in a protein-DNA complex by photocrosslinking..
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 89(21):10287-91. Abstract
We have developed a straightforward biochemical method to determine the orientation of the DNA binding motif of a sequence-specific DNA binding protein relative to the DNA site in the protein-DNA complex. The method involves incorporation of a photoactivatable crosslinking agent at a single site within the DNA binding motif of the sequence-specific DNA binding protein, formation of the derivatized protein-DNA complex, UV-irradiation of the derivatized protein-DNA complex, and determination of the nucleotide(s) at which crosslinking occurs. We have applied the method to catabolite gene activator protein (CAP). We have constructed and analyzed two derivatives of CAP: one having a phenyl azide photoactivatable crosslinking agent at amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif of CAP, and one having a phenyl azide photoactivatable crosslinking agent at amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif of CAP. The results indicate that amino acid 2 of the helix-turn-helix motif is close to the top-strand nucleotides of base pairs 3 and 4 of the DNA half site in the CAP-DNA complex, and that amino acid 10 of the helix-turn-helix motif is close to the bottom-strand nucleotide of base pair 10 of the DNA half site in the CAP-DNA complex. The results define unambiguously the orientation of the helix-turn-helix motif relative to the DNA half site in the CAP-DNA complex. Comparison of the results to the crystallographic structure of the CAP-DNA complex [Schultz, S., Shields, S. & Steitz, T. (1991) Science 253, 1001-1007] indicates that the method provides accurate, high-resolution proximity and orientation information.
Distinct contributions of beta 4GalNAcTA and beta 4GalNAcTB to Drosophila glycosphingolipid biosynthesis.
Glycoconjugate Journal. 25:167-75. Abstract
Drosophila melanogaster has two beta4-N-acetylgalactosaminyltransferases, beta4GalNAcTA and beta4GalNAcTB, that are able to catalyse the formation of lacdiNAc (GalNAcbeta,4GlcNAc). LacdiNAc is found as a structural element of Drosophila glycosphingolipids (GSLs) suggesting that beta4GalNAcTs contribute to the generation of GSL structures in vivo. Mutations in Egghead and Brainaic, enzymes that generate the beta4GalNAcT trisaccharide acceptor structure GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer, are lethal. In contrast, flies doubly mutant for the beta4GalNAcTs are viable and fertile. Here, we describe the structural analysis of the GSLs in beta4GalNAcT mutants and find that in double mutant flies no lacdiNAc structure is generated and the trisaccharide GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer accumulates. We also find that phosphoethanolamine transfer to GlcNAc in the trisaccharide does not occur, demonstrating that this step is dependent on prior or simultaneous transfer of GalNAc. By comparing GSL structures generated in the beta4GalNAcT single mutants we show that beta4GalNAcTB is the major enzyme for the overall GSL biosynthesis in adult flies. In beta4GalNAcTA mutants, composition of GSL structures is indistinguishable from wild-type animals. However, in beta4GalNAcTB mutants precursor structures are accumulating in different steps of GSL biosynthesis, without the complete loss of lacdiNAc, indicating that beta4GalNAcTA plays a minor role in generating GSL structures. Together our results demonstrate that both beta4GalNAcTs are able to generate lacdiNAc structures in Drosophila GSL, although with different contributions in vivo, and that the trisaccharide GlcNAcbeta,3Manbeta,4GlcbetaCer is sufficient to avoid the major phenotypic consequences associated with the GSL biosynthetic defects in Brainiac or Egghead.
Distinct Protein Domains Regulate Ciliary Targeting and Function of C. Elegans PKD-2.
Exp Cell Res. 314:825-833. Abstract
TRPP2 (transient receptor potential polycystin-2) channels function in a range of cells where they are localized to specific subcellular regions including the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) and primary cilium. In humans, TRPP2/PC-2 mutations severely compromise kidney function and cause autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD). The Caenorhabditis elegans TRPP2 homolog, PKD-2, is restricted to the somatodendritic (cell body and dendrite) and ciliary compartments of male specific sensory neurons. Within these neurons PKD-2 function is required for sensation. To understand the mechanisms regulating TRPP2 subcellular distribution and activity, we performed in vivo structure-function-localization studies using C. elegans as a model system. Our data demonstrate that somatodendritic and ciliary targeting requires the transmembrane (TM) region of PKD-2 and that the PKD-2 cytosolic termini regulate subcellular distribution and function. Within neuronal cell bodies, PKD-2 colocalizes with the OSM-9 TRP vanilloid (TRPV) channel, suggesting that these TRPP and TRPV channels may function in a common process. When human TRPP2/PC-2 is heterologously expressed in transgenic C. elegans animals, PC-2 does not visibly localize to cilia but does partially rescue pkd-2 null mutant defects, suggesting that human PC-2 and PKD-2 are functional homologs.
DNA affinity cleaving analysis of homeodomain-DNA interaction: identification of homeodomain consensus sites in genomic DNA..
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. 91(1):118-22. Abstract
We have incorporated the DNA-cleaving moiety o-phenanthroline-copper at amino acid 10 of the Msx-1 homeodomain, and we have analyzed site-specific DNA cleavage by the resulting Msx-1 derivative. We show that amino acid 10 of the Msx-1 homeodomain is close to the 5' end of the consensus DNA site 5'-(C/G)TAATTG-3' in the Msx-1-DNA complex. Our results indicate that the orientation of the Msx-1 homeodomain relative to DNA is analogous to the orientation of the engrailed and Antennapedia homeodomains. We show further that DNA affinity cleaving permits identification of consensus DNA sites for Msx-1 in kilobase DNA substrates. The specificity of the approach enabled us to identify an Msx-1 consensus DNA site within the transcriptional control region of the developmental regulatory gene Wnt-1. We propose that incorporation of o-phenanthroline-copper at amino acid 10 of a homeodomain may provide a generalizable strategy to determine the orientation of a homeodomain relative to DNA and to identify homeodomain consensus DNA sites in genomic DNA.
Dorsal-ventral signaling in the Drosophila eye.
Science. 281:2031-4. Abstract
The development of the Drosophila eye has served as a model system for investigations of tissue patterning and cell-cell communication; however, early eye development has not been well understood. The results presented here indicate that specialized cells are established along the dorsal-ventral midline of the developing eye by Notch-mediated signaling between dorsal and ventral cells, and that Notch activation at the midline plays an essential role both in promoting the growth of the eye primordia and in regulating eye patterning. These observations imply that the developmental homology between Drosophila wings and vertebrate limbs extends to Drosophila eyes.
Drosophila ATM and ATR have distinct activities in the regulation of meiotic DNA damage and repair.
J Cell Biol. 195:359-67. Abstract
Ataxia telangiectasia-mutated (ATM) and ataxia telangiectasia-related (ATR) kinases are conserved regulators of cellular responses to double strand breaks (DSBs). During meiosis, however, the functions of these kinases in DSB repair and the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) damage checkpoint are unclear. In this paper, we show that ATM and ATR have unique roles in the repair of meiotic DSBs in Drosophila melanogaster. ATR mutant analysis indicated that it is required for checkpoint activity, whereas ATM may not be. Both kinases phosphorylate H2AV (gamma-H2AV), and, using this as a reporter for ATM/ATR activity, we found that the DSB repair response is surprisingly dynamic at the site of DNA damage. gamma-H2AV is continuously exchanged, requiring new phosphorylation at the break site until repair is completed. However, most surprising is that the number of gamma-H2AV foci is dramatically increased in the absence of ATM, but not ATR, suggesting that the number of DSBs is increased. Thus, we conclude that ATM is primarily required for the meiotic DSB repair response, which includes functions in DNA damage repair and negative feedback control over the level of programmed DSBs during meiosis.