Histone modifications regulate chromatin remodeling and gene expression in development and diseases. DOT1L, the sole histone H3K79 methyltransferase, is essential for embryonic development. Here, we report that DOT1L regulates male fertility in mouse. DOT1L associates with MLLT10 in testis. DOT1L and MLLT10 localize to the sex chromatin in meiotic and post-meiotic germ cells in an inter-dependent manner. Loss of either DOT1L or MLLT10 leads to reduced testis weight, decreased sperm count and male subfertility. H3K79me2 is abundant in elongating spermatids, which undergo the dramatic histone-to-protamine transition. Both DOT1L and MLLT10 are essential for H3K79me2 modification in germ cells. Strikingly, histones are substantially retained in epididymal sperm from either DOT1L- or MLLT10-deficient mice. These results demonstrate that H3K79 methylation promotes histone replacement during spermiogenesis.

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