TEX11 is mutated in infertile men with azoospermia and regulates genome-wide recombination rates in mouse

EMBO Mol Med. 2015 Sep;7(9):1198-210. doi: 10.15252/emmm.201404967.


Genome-wide recombination is essential for genome stability, evolution, and speciation. Mouse Tex11, an X-linked meiosis-specific gene, promotes meiotic recombination and chromosomal synapsis. Here, we report that TEX11 is mutated in infertile men with non-obstructive azoospermia and that an analogous mutation in the mouse impairs meiosis. Genetic screening of a large cohort of idiopathic infertile men reveals that TEX11 mutations, including frameshift and splicing acceptor site mutations, cause infertility in 1% of azoospermic men. Functional evaluation of three analogous human TEX11 missense mutations in transgenic mouse models identified one mutation (V748A) as a potential infertility allele and found two mutations non-causative. In the mouse model, an intronless autosomal Tex11 transgene functionally substitutes for the X-linked Tex11 gene, providing genetic evidence for the X-to-autosomal retrotransposition evolution phenomenon. Furthermore, we find that TEX11 protein levels modulate genome-wide recombination rates in both sexes. These studies indicate that TEX11 alleles affecting expression level or substituting single amino acids may contribute to variations in recombination rates between sexes and among individuals in humans.

Keywords: X chromosome; chromosomal synapsis; infertility; meiosis; recombination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Azoospermia / genetics*
  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone / genetics*
  • Genetic Testing
  • Humans
  • Infertility, Male / genetics*
  • Male
  • Meiosis
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Mutant Proteins / genetics
  • Mutation*
  • Recombination, Genetic*


  • Cell Cycle Proteins
  • Chromosomal Proteins, Non-Histone
  • Mutant Proteins
  • TEX11 protein, human