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Exonucleolytic resection, critical to repair double-strand breaks (DSBs) by recombination, is not well understood, particularly in mammalian meiosis. Here, we define structures of resected DSBs in mouse spermatocytes genome-wide at nucleotide resolution. Resection tracts averaged 1100 nt, but with substantial fine-scale heterogeneity at individual hot spots. Surprisingly, EXO1 is not the major 5' → 3' exonuclease, but the DSB-responsive kinase ATM proved a key regulator of both initiation and extension of resection. In wild type, apparent intermolecular recombination intermediates clustered near to but offset from DSB positions, consistent with joint molecules with incompletely invaded 3' ends. Finally, we provide evidence for PRDM9-dependent chromatin remodeling leading to increased accessibility at recombination sites. Our findings give insight into the mechanisms of DSB processing and repair in meiotic chromatin.

Original publication




Journal article


Genes & development

Publication Date





806 - 818


Molecular Biology Program, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, New York 10065, USA.