- Publication date : 2015-03-17
Gouraud A, Brazeau MA, Grégoire MC, Simard O, Massonneau J, Arguin M, Boissonneault G. "Breaking news" from spermatids. Basic Clin Androl. 2013;23:11. doi: 10.1186/2051-4190-23-11. PubMed PMID: 25780573.
During the haploid phase of spermatogenesis, spermatids undergo a complex remodeling of the paternal genome involving the finely orchestrated replacement of histones by the highly-basic protamines. The associated striking change in DNA topology is characterized by a transient surge of both single- and double-stranded DNA breaks in the whole population of spermatids which are repaired before spermiation. These transient DNA breaks are now considered part of the normal differentiation program of these cells. Despite an increasing interest in the study of spermiogenesis in the last decade and the potential threat to the haploid genome, the origin of these DNA breaks still remains elusive. This review briefly outlines the current hypotheses regarding possible mechanisms that may lead to such transient DNA fragmentation including torsional stress, enzyme-induced breaks, apoptosis-like processes or oxidative stress. A better understanding of the origin of these DNA breaks will lead to further investigations on the genetic instability and mutagenic potential induced by the chromatin remodeling.