Open Access Research article

An exonic insertion within Tex14 gene causes spermatogenic arrest in pigs

Anu Sironen1*, Pekka Uimari1, Heli Venhoranta2, Magnus Andersson2 and Johanna Vilkki1

Author Affiliations

1 Agrifood Research Finland, MTT, Biotechnology and Food Research, Genomics, FI-36100 Jokioinen, Finland

2 University of Helsinki, Department of Clinical Veterinary Sciences, Saarentaus, Finland

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BMC Genomics 2011, 12:591  doi:10.1186/1471-2164-12-591

Published: 2 December 2011

Abstract

Background

Male infertility is an increasing problem in all domestic species including man. Localization and identification of genes involved in defects causing male infertility provide valuable information of specific events in sperm development. Sperm development is a complex process, where diploid spermatogonia develop into haploid, highly specialized spermatozoa. Correct expression and function of various genes and their protein products are required for production of fertile sperm. We have identified an infertility defect in Finnish Yorkshire boars caused by spermatogenic arrest. The aim of this study was to locate the disease associated region using genome wide screen with the PorcineSNP60 Beadchip and identify the causal mutation by candidate gene approach.

Results

In the Finnish Yorkshire pig population the spermatogenic arrest (SA) defect appears to be of genetic origin and causes severe degeneration of germ cells and total absence of spermatozoa. Genome wide scan with the PorcineSNP60 Beadchip localized the SA defect to porcine chromosome 12 in a 2 Mbp region. Sequencing of a candidate gene Tex14 revealed a 51 bp insertion within exon 27, which caused differential splicing of the exon and created a premature translation stop codon. The expression of Tex14 was markedly down regulated in the testis of a SA affected boar compared to control boars and no protein product was identified by Western blotting. The SA insertion sequence was also found within intron 27 in all analyzed animals, thus the insertion appears to be a possible duplication event.

Conclusion

In this study we report the identification of a causal mutation for infertility caused by spermatogenic arrest at an early meiotic phase. Our results highlight the role of TEX14 specifically in spermatogenesis and the importance of specific genomic remodeling events as causes for inherited defects.