Rad54 is an important factor in the homologous recombination pathway of DNA double-strand break repair. However, Rad54 knockout (KO) mice do not exhibit overt phenotypes at adulthood, even when exposed to radiation. In this study, we show that in Rad54 KO mouse the germline is actually altered. Compared with the wild-type (WT) animals, these mice have less premeiotic germ cells. This germ cell loss is found as early as in E11.5 embryos, suggesting an early failure during mutant primordial germ cells development. Both testicular and ovarian KO germ cells exhibited high radiation sensitivity leading to a long-term gametogenesis defect at adulthood. The KO female germline was particularly affected displaying decreased litter size or sterility. Spermatogenesis recovery after irradiation was slower and incomplete in Rad54 KO mice compared with that of WT mice, suggesting that loss of germ stem cell precursors is not fully compensated along the successive rounds of spermatogenesis. Finally, spermatogenesis recovery after postnatal irradiation is in part regulated by glial-cell-line-derived neurotrophic factor (GDNF) in KO but not in irradiated WT mice, suggesting that Sertoli cell GDNF production is stimulated upon substantial germ cell loss only. Our findings suggest that Rad54 has a key function in maintaining genomic integrity of the developing germ cells.

Development, Germ cells, Ovary, Rad54, Radiation, Testis
dx.doi.org/10.1038/cddis.2013.281, hdl.handle.net/1765/67754
Cell Death and Disease
Department of Medical Oncology

Messiaen, L.M, Le Bras, A, Duquenne, C, Barroca, V, Moison, D, Déchamps, N, … Bernardino-Sgherri, J. (2013). Rad54 is required for the normal development of male and female germ cells and contributes to the maintainance of their genome integrity after genotoxic stress. Cell Death and Disease, 4(8). doi:10.1038/cddis.2013.281