© 2015 Pattabiraman et al.
Postmeiotic gene expression is essential for development and maturation of sperm and eggs. We report that the dual bromodomain-containing protein BRWD1, which is essential for both male and female fertility, promotes haploid spermatid-specific transcription but has distinct roles in oocyte meiotic progression. Brwd1 deficiency caused down-regulation of ∼300 mostly spermatid-specific transcripts in testis, including nearly complete elimination of those encoding the protamines and transition proteins, but was not associated with global epigenetic changes in chromatin, which suggests that BRWD1 acts selectively. In females, Brwd1 ablation caused severe chromosome condensation and structural defects associated with abnormal telomere structure but only minor changes in gene expression at the germinal vesicle stage, including more than twofold overexpression of the histone methyltransferase MLL5 and LINE-1 elements transposons. Thus, loss of BRWD1 function interferes with the completion of oogenesis and spermatogenesis through sexually dimorphic mechanisms: it is essential in females for epigenetic control of meiotic chromosome stability and in males for haploid gene transcription during postmeiotic sperm differentiation.