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The animal sperm nucleus is characterized by an extremely compacted organization of its DNA after the global replacement of histones with sperm-specific nuclear basic proteins, such as protamines. In the absence of DNA repair activity in the mature gamete, the integrity of the paternal genome is potentially challenged by the unique topological constraints exerted on sperm DNA. In addition, the maintenance of paternal DNA integrity during the rapid remodeling of sperm chromatin at fertilization has long been regarded as a maternal trait. However, little is known about the nature of the egg proteins involved in this essential aspect of zygote formation. We had previously characterized the unique phenotype of the classical Drosophila maternal effect mutant maternal haploid (mh), which specifically affects the integration of paternal chromosomes in the zygote. Here we show that MH is the fly ortholog of the recently identified human DVC1/Spartan protein, a conserved regulator of DNA damage tolerance. Like Spartan, MH protein is involved in the resistance to UV radiation and recruits the p97/TER94 segregase to stalled DNA replication forks in somatic cells. In the zygote, we found that the mh phenotype is consistent with perturbed or incomplete paternal DNA replication. Remarkably, however, the specific accumulation of MH in the male pronucleus before the first S phase suggests that this maternal protein is required to maintain paternal DNA integrity during nuclear decondensation or to set the paternal chromatin landscape in preparation of the first zygotic cycle. Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.


Laetitia Delabaere, Guillermo A Orsi, Laure Sapey-Triomphe, Béatrice Horard, Pierre Couble, Benjamin Loppin. The Spartan ortholog maternal haploid is required for paternal chromosome integrity in the Drosophila zygote. Current biology : CB. 2014 Oct 6;24(19):2281-7

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PMID: 25242033

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