Infertility is a global healthcare problem, and despite long years of assisted reproductive activities, a significant number of cases remain idiopathic. Our currently restricted understanding of basic mechanisms driving human gametogenesis severely limits the improvement of clinical care for infertile patients. Using exome sequencing, we identified a nonsense mutation leading to a premature stop in the TEX15 locus (c.2130T>G, p.Y710*) in a consanguineous Turkish family comprising eight siblings in which three brothers were identified as infertile. TEX15 displays testis-specific expression, maps to chromosome 8, contains four exons and encodes a 2789-amino acid protein with uncertain function. The mutation, which should lead to early translational termination at the first exon of TEX15, co-segregated with the infertility phenotype, and our data strongly suggest that it is the cause of spermatogenic defects in the family. All three affected brothers presented a phenotype reminiscent of the one observed in KO mice. Indeed, previously reported results demonstrated that disruption of the orthologous gene in mice caused a drastic reduction in testis size and meiotic arrest in the first wave of spermatogenesis in males while female KO mice were fertile. The data from our study of one Turkish family suggested that the identified mutation correlates with a decrease in sperm count over time. A diagnostic test identifying the mutation in man could provide an indication of spermatogenic failure and prompt patients to undertake sperm cryopreservation at an early age.
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