Phosphorylation of CDK2 on Threonine 160 Influences Silencing of Sex Chromosome During Male Meiosis1

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In mammalian meiosis, the X and Y chromosomes are largely unsynapsed and transcriptionally silenced during the pachytene stage of meiotic prophase (meiotic sex chromosome inactivation), forming a specialized nuclear territory called sex or XY body. An increasing number of proteins and noncoding RNAs were found to localize to the sex body and take part in influencing expression of sex chromosome genes. Cyclin-dependent kinase 2 (Cdk2−/−) spermatocytes show incomplete sex chromosome pairing. Here, we further showed that phosphorylation of CDK2 isoform 1 (p-CDK239 [39 kDa]) on threonine 160 localizes to the sites of asynapsis and the sex body, interacting with phosphorylated gamma-H2AX. Meanwhile, p-CDK239 is frequently mislocalized throughout the sex body, and meiotic sex chromosome inactivation is disrupted in PWK×C57BL/6J hybrid mice. Furthermore, pachytene spermatocytes treated with mevastatin (an inhibitor of p-CDK2) showed overexpression of sex chromosome-linked genes. Our results highlight an important role for p-CDK239 in influencing silencing of the sex chromosomes during male meiosis by interacting with gamma-H2AX.

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