Mammalian early embryos maintain accurate genome integrity for proper development within a programmed timeline despite constant assaults on their DNA by replication, DNA demethylation and genetic defects transmitted from germ cells. However, how genome integrity is safeguarded during mammalian early embryonic development remains unclear. BCAS2 (Breast Carcinoma Amplified Sequence 2), a core component of the PRP19 complex involved in pre-mRNA splicing, plays an important role in the DNA damage response through the RPA complex, a key regulator in the maintenance of genome integrity. Currently, the physiological role of BCAS2 in mammals is unknown. We now report that BCAS2 responds to endogenous and exogenous DNA damage in mouse zygotes. Maternal depletion of BCAS2 compromises the DNA damage response in early embryos, leading to developmental arrest at the two- to four-cell stage accompanied by the accumulation of damaged DNA and micronuclei. Furthermore, BCAS2 mutants that are unable to bind RPA1 fail in DNA repair during the zygotic stage. In addition, phosphorylated RPA2 cannot localize to the DNA damage sites in mouse zygotes with disrupted maternal BCAS2. These data suggest that BCAS2 may function through the RPA complex during DNA repair in zygotes. Altogether, our results reveal that maternal BCAS2 maintains the genome integrity of early embryos and is essential for female mouse fertility.
- Received August 14, 2015.
- Accepted September 24, 2015.