Kocer A et al.
Normal embryo and foetal development as well as the health of the progeny are mostly dependent on gamete nuclear integrity. In the present study, in order to characterize more precisely oxidative DNA damage in mouse sperm we used two mouse models that display high levels of sperm oxidative DNA damage, a common alteration encountered both in in vivo and in vitro reproduction. Immunoprecipitation of oxidized sperm DNA coupled to deep sequencing showed that mouse chromosomes may be largely affected by oxidative alterations. We show that the vulnerability of chromosomes to oxidative attack inversely correlated with their size and was not linked to their GC richness. It was neither correlated with the chromosome content in persisting nucleosomes nor associated with methylated sequences. A strong correlation was found between oxidized sequences and sequences rich in short interspersed repeat elements (SINEs). Chromosome position in the sperm nucleus as revealed by fluorescent in situ hybridization appears to be a confounder. These data map for the first time fragile mouse sperm chromosomal regions when facing oxidative damage that may challenge the repair mechanisms of the oocyte post-fertilization.