21 Citations (Scopus)


To prevent chromosomal aberrations being transmitted to the offspring, strict meiotic checkpoints are in place to remove aberrant spermatocytes. However, in about 1% of males these checkpoints cause complete meiotic arrest leading to azoospermia and subsequent infertility. Here, we unravel two clearly distinct meiotic arrest mechanisms that occur during prophase of human male meiosis. Type I arrested spermatocytes display severe asynapsis of the homologous chromosomes, disturbed XY-body formation and increased expression of the Y chromosome-encoded gene ZFY and seem to activate a DNA damage pathway leading to induction of p63, possibly causing spermatocyte apoptosis. Type II arrested spermatocytes display normal chromosome synapsis, normal XY-body morphology and meiotic crossover formation but have a lowered expression of several cell cycle regulating genes and fail to silence the X chromosome-encoded gene ZFX. Discovery and understanding of these meiotic arrest mechanisms increases our knowledge of how genomic stability is guarded during human germ cell development.
Original languageEnglish
Article numberdev160614
JournalDevelopment (Cambridge, England)
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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