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Missing gene links mouse infertility

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Missing gene in mouse sperm could explain infertility. Mice lacking a certain gene are unable to produce offspring because their sperm lack the connection between the tail and the head. A new thesis from the University of Gothenburg indicates a probable cause of male infertility.

Missing Gene in Mouse Sperm Sheds Light on Infertility



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Published on: July 10, 2019 Description: Christophe Arnoult; France.
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Missing Gene Leads to Infertility in Mice

Researchers at the University of Gothenburg have uncovered a potential cause of male infertility. Their findings, published in a thesis by doctoral student Kexin Zhang, reveal that mice lacking a specific gene are unable to produce offspring due to a defect in their sperm.

The Role of the MC2 Protein in Infertility

The missing gene codes for a protein called MC2, which plays a crucial role in the formation of swimmable sperm in mice. MC2 is responsible for creating a functional connection between the head and tail of the sperm, enabling coordinated movement and function as the sperm swims towards the egg.

Absence of MC2 Leads to Infertility in Mice

Experiments conducted by Zhang and her colleagues demonstrated that the production of MC2 protein is controlled by a specific gene in the genome. When this gene was removed using genetic scissors, the mice stopped producing the protein and became completely infertile.

Genetic Factors in Infertility

Genetic factors are known to contribute to 15 to 30% of infertility cases in men. The gene responsible for MC2 production is not located on the sex chromosome, indicating that it does not affect female fertility.

Understanding Acephalic Spermatozoa Syndrome

Zhang’s research sheds light on the causes of infertility associated with the absence of the sperm head, a condition known as acephalic spermatozoa syndrome. Until now, the underlying cause of this diagnosis has remained elusive.

Potential Implications for Contraception and Treatment of Infertility

The discovery of the MC2 protein provides valuable insights into the molecular structure of sperm cells and their development into spermatozoa. Researchers can now further explore these insights to develop new diagnostic methods and treatments for male infertility. Additionally, it may be possible to create a male contraceptive by targeting this gene.

Conclusion

The identification of the MC2 protein and its role in sperm formation offers a significant step forward in understanding the causes of male infertility. This research holds promise for the development of new approaches to diagnosis, treatment, and potentially even contraception.

FAQ’s

1. What is the main finding of the research conducted by Kexin Zhang?

The research uncovered a potential cause of male infertility in mice: the absence of a gene that codes for a protein called MC2, leading to a defect in sperm formation and preventing fertilization.

2. What is the role of the MC2 protein in sperm development?

MC2 protein plays a crucial role in the formation of swimmable sperm in mice. It is responsible for creating a functional connection between the head and tail of the sperm, enabling coordinated movement and function as the sperm swims towards the egg.

3. How does the absence of the MC2 protein affect fertility?

The absence of MC2 protein, due to the removal of the responsible gene, results in complete infertility in mice. This highlights the importance of MC2 protein in the production of functional sperm and successful fertilization.

4. What is the genetic contribution to infertility in men?

Genetic factors contribute to 15 to 30% of infertility cases in men. The gene responsible for MC2 production is not located on the sex chromosome, indicating that its absence does not affect female fertility.

5. How does this research shed light on acephalic spermatozoa syndrome?

Zhang’s research provides insights into the causes of infertility associated with the absence of the sperm head, known as acephalic spermatozoa syndrome. The identification of the MC2 protein and its role in sperm formation offers a potential explanation for this condition.

Links to additional Resources:

https://www.gu.se https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov https://www.nature.com

Related Wikipedia Articles

Topics: Male infertility, Sperm development, Acephalic spermatozoa syndrome

Male infertility
Male infertility refers to a sexually mature male's inability to impregnate a fertile female. In humans, it accounts for 40–50% of infertility. It affects approximately 7% of all men. Male infertility is commonly due to deficiencies in the semen, and semen quality is used as a surrogate measure of male...
Read more: Male infertility

Sperm
Sperm (pl.: sperm or sperms) is the male reproductive cell, or gamete, in anisogamous forms of sexual reproduction (forms in which there is a larger, female reproductive cell and a smaller, male one). Animals produce motile sperm with a tail known as a flagellum, which are known as spermatozoa, while...
Read more: Sperm

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