MLPA and sequence analysis of DPY19L2 reveals point mutations causing globozoospermia.Hum Reprod. 2012 Aug; 27(8):2549-58.HR
Do DPY19L2 heterozygous deletions and point mutations account for some cases of globozoospermia?
Two DPY19L2 heterozygous deletions and three point mutations were identified, thus further confirming that genetic alterations of the DPY19L2 gene are the main cause of globozoospermia and indicating that DPY19L2 molecular diagnostics should not be stopped in the absence of a homozygous gene deletion.
WHAT IS KNOWN ALREADY
Globozoospermia is a rare phenotype of primary male infertility characterized by the production of a majority of round-headed spermatozoa without acrosome. We demonstrated previously that most cases in man were caused by a recurrent homozygous deletion of the totality of the DPY19L2 gene, preventing sperm head elongation and acrosome formation. In mammals, DPY19L2 has three paralogs of yet unknown function and one highly homologous pseudogene showing >95% sequence identity with DPY19L2. Specific amplification and sequencing of DPY19L2 have so far been hampered by the presence of this pseudogene which has greatly complicated specific amplification and sequencing.
STUDY DESIGN, SIZE, DURATION
In this cohort study, 34 patients presenting with globozoospermia were recruited during routine infertility treatment in infertility centers in France and Tunisia between January 2008 and December 2011. The molecular variants identified in patients were screened in 200 individuals from the general population to exclude frequent non-pathological polymorphisms.
PARTICIPANTS/MATERIALS, SETTING, METHODS
We developed a Multiplex Ligation-dependent Probe Amplification test to detect the presence of heterozygous deletions and identified the conditions to specifically amplify and sequence the 22 exons and intronic boundaries of the DPY19L2 gene. The pathogenicity of the identified mutations and their action on the protein were evaluated in silico.
MAIN RESULTS AND THE ROLE OF CHANCE
There were 23 patients who were homozygous for the DPY19L2 deletion (67.6%). Only eight of the eleven non-homozygously deleted patients could be sequenced due to poor DNA quality of three patients. Two patients were compound heterozygous carrying one DPY19L2 deleted allele associated respectively with a nonsense (p.Q342*) and a missense mutation (p.R290H). One patient was homozygous for p.M358K, another missense mutation affecting a highly conserved amino acid. Due to the localization of this mutation and the physicochemical properties of the substituted amino acids, we believe that this variant is likely to disrupt one of the protein transmembrane domains and destabilize the protein. Overall, 84% of the fully analysed patients (n = 31) had a molecular alteration of DPY19L2. There was no clear phenotypic difference between the homozygous deleted individual, patients carrying a point mutation and undiagnosed patients.
LIMITATIONS, REASONS FOR CAUTION
Globally poor fertilization rates are observed after intracytoplasmic sperm injection of round spermatozoa. Further work is needed to assess whether DPY19L2 mutated patients present a better or worse prognostic than the non-diagnosed patients. Evaluation of the potential benefit of treatment with a calcium ionophore, described to improve fertilization, should be evaluated in these two groups.
WIDER IMPLICATIONS OF THE FINDINGS
In previous work, deletions of DPY19L2 had only been identified in North African patients. Here we have identified DPY19L2 deletions and point mutations in European patients, indicating that globozoospemia caused by a molecular defect of DPY19L2 can be expected in individuals from any ethnic background.
STUDY FUNDING/COMPETING INTEREST(S)
None of the authors have any competing interest. This work is part of the project 'Identification and Characterization of Genes Involved in Infertility (ICG2I)' funded by the program GENOPAT 2009 from the French Research Agency (ANR).