Male infertility, affecting as many as 10% of the adult population, is an extremely prevalent disorder. In most cases, the cause of the condition is unknown, and genetic factors that might affect male fertility, other than some sequences on the Y chromosome, have not been identified. We report here that male mice heterozygous for a targeted mutation of the apolipoprotein B (apo B) gene exhibit severely compromised fertility. Sperm from these mice failed to fertilize eggs both in vivo and in vitro. However, these sperm were able to fertilize eggs once the zona pellucida was removed but displayed persistent abnormal binding to the egg after fertilization. In vitro fertilization-related and other experiments revealed reduced sperm motility, survival time, and sperm count also contributed to the infertility phenotype. Recognition of the infertility phenotype led to the identification of apo B mRNA in the testes and epididymides of normal mice, and these transcripts were substantially reduced in the affected animals. Moreover, when the genomic sequence encoding human apo B was introduced into these animals, normal fertility was restored. These findings suggest that this genetic locus may have an important impact on male fertility and identify a previously unrecognized function for apo B.
|Number of pages
|Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
|Published - 1 Oct 1996