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MCM8 interacts with DDX5 to promote R-loop resolution.

EMBO Journal 2024 June 11
MCM8 has emerged as a core gene in reproductive aging and is crucial for meiotic homologous recombination repair. It also safeguards genome stability by coordinating the replication stress response during mitosis, but its function in mitotic germ cells remains elusive. Here we found that disabling MCM8 in mice resulted in proliferation defects of primordial germ cells (PGCs) and ultimately impaired fertility. We further demonstrated that MCM8 interacted with two known helicases DDX5 and DHX9, and loss of MCM8 led to R-loop accumulation by reducing the retention of these helicases at R-loops, thus inducing genome instability. Cells expressing premature ovarian insufficiency-causative mutants of MCM8 with decreased interaction with DDX5 displayed increased R-loop levels. These results show MCM8 interacts with R-loop-resolving factors to prevent R-loop-induced DNA damage, which may contribute to the maintenance of genome integrity of PGCs and reproductive reserve establishment. Our findings thus reveal an essential role for MCM8 in PGC development and improve our understanding of reproductive aging caused by genome instability in mitotic germ cells.

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