Deletion or underexpression of the Y-chromosome genes CDY2 and HSFY is associated with maturation arrest in American men with nonobstructive azoospermia

Asian J Androl. 2012 Sep;14(5):676-82. doi: 10.1038/aja.2012.55. Epub 2012 Jul 23.


Maturation arrest (MA) refers to failure of germ cell development leading to clinical nonobstructive azoospermia. Although the azoospermic factor (AZF) region of the human Y chromosome is clearly implicated in some cases, thus far very little is known about which individual Y-chromosome genes are important for complete male germ cell development. We sought to identify single genes on the Y chromosome that may be implicated in the pathogenesis of nonobstructive azoospermia associated with MA in the American population. Genotype-phenotype analysis of 132 men with Y-chromosome microdeletions was performed. Protein-coding genes associated with MA were identified by visual analysis of a genotype-phenotype map. Genes associated with MA were selected as those genes within a segment of the Y chromosome that, when completely or partially deleted, were always associated with MA and absence of retrievable testicular sperm. Expression of each identified gene transcript was then measured with quantitative RT-PCR in testicular tissue from separate cohorts of patients with idiopathic MA and obstructive azoospermia. Ten candidate genes for association with MA were identified within an 8.4-Mb segment of the Y chromosome overlapping the AZFb region. CDY2 and HSFY were the only identified genes for which differences in expression were observed between the MA and obstructive azoospermia cohorts. Men with obstructive azoospermia had 12-fold higher relative expression of CDY2 transcript (1.33 ± 0.40 vs. 0.11 ± 0.04; P=0.0003) and 16-fold higher expression of HSFY transcript (0.78 ± 0.32 vs. 0.05 ± 0.02; P=0.0005) compared to men with MA. CDY2 and HSFY were also underexpressed in patients with Sertoli cell only syndrome. These data indicate that CDY2 and HSFY are located within a segment of the Y chromosome that is important for sperm maturation, and are underexpressed in testicular tissue derived from men with MA. These observations suggest that impairments in CDY2 or HSFY expression could be implicated in the pathogenesis of MA.

Publication types

  • Historical Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Azoospermia / genetics*
  • Azoospermia / pathology
  • Base Sequence
  • Chromosomes, Human, Y*
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Deletion*
  • Genotype
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • History, 16th Century
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nuclear Proteins / genetics*
  • Phenotype
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Spermatozoa / pathology*
  • Testis / pathology
  • Transcription Factors / genetics*
  • United States


  • CDY2A protein, human
  • DNA Primers
  • HSFY1 protein, human
  • Heat Shock Transcription Factors
  • Nuclear Proteins
  • Transcription Factors