The M200V polymorphism of the human DMC1 protein, which is an essential, meiosis-specific DNA recombinase, was found in an infertile patient, raising the question of whether this homozygous human DMC1-M200V polymorphism may cause infertility by affecting the function of the human DMC1 protein. In the present study, we determined the crystal structure of the human DMC1-M200V variant in the octameric-ring form. Biochemical analyses revealed that the human DMC1-M200V variant had reduced stability, and was moderately defective in catalyzing in vitro recombination reactions. The corresponding M194V mutation introduced in the Schizosaccharomyces pombe dmc1 gene caused a significant decrease in the meiotic homologous recombination frequency. Together, these structural, biochemical and genetic results provide extensive evidence that the human DMC1-M200V mutation impairs its function, supporting the previous interpretation that this single-nucleotide polymorphism is a source of human infertility.
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