ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 67-72

Biallelic mutations in spermatogenesis and centriole-associated 1 like (SPATC1L) cause acephalic spermatozoa syndrome and male infertility


1 Reproductive Medicine Center, The First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen 361003, China
2 Intensive Care Unit, Fujian Medical University Xiamen Humanity Hospital, Xiamen 361009, China
3 Obstetrics and Gynecology Center, Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, Zhujiang Hospital, Southern Medical University, Guangzhou 510280, China
4 School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Cellular Stress Biology, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102, China
5 Department of Andrology, United Diagnostic and Research Center for Clinical Genetics, Women and Children's Hospital and School of Medicine, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361005, China
6 Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology, First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen 361003, China
7 Department of General Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen 361003, China

Correspondence Address:
Fu-Xing Zhang
Department of General Surgery, First Affiliated Hospital of Xiamen University, Xiamen 361003, China
China
Zhong-Xian Lu
School of Pharmaceutical Sciences, State Key Laboratory of Cellular Stress Biology, Xiamen University, Xiamen 361102
China
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/aja.aja_56_21

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Acephalic spermatozoa syndrome is a rare type of teratozoospermia that severely impairs the reproductive ability of male patients, and genetic defects have been recognized as the main cause of acephalic spermatozoa syndrome. Spermatogenesis and centriole-associated 1 like (SPATC1L) is indispensable for maintaining the integrity of sperm head-to-tail connections in mice, but its roles in human sperm and early embryonic development remain largely unknown. Herein, we conducted whole-exome sequencing (WES) of 22 infertile men with acephalic spermatozoa syndrome. An in silico analysis of the candidate variants was conducted, and WES data analysis was performed using another cohort consisting of 34 patients with acephalic spermatozoa syndrome and 25 control subjects with proven fertility. We identified biallelic mutations in SPATC1L (c.910C>T:p.Arg304Cys and c.994G>T:p.Glu332X) from a patient whose sperm displayed complete acephalia. Both SPATC1L variants are rare and deleterious. SPATC1L is mainly expressed at the head–tail junction of elongating spermatids. Plasmids containing pathogenic variants decreased the level of SPATC1L in vitro. Moreover, none of the patient's four attempts at intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) resulted in a transplantable embryo, which suggests that SPATC1L defects might affect early embryonic development. In conclusion, this study provides the first identification of SPATC1L as a novel gene for human acephalic spermatozoa syndrome. Furthermore, WES might be applied for patients with acephalic spermatozoa syndrome who exhibit reiterative ICSI failures.


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