Chorea-acanthocytosis (ChAc) is an autosomal recessive hereditary disease characterized by neurodegeneration in the striatum and acanthocytosis caused by loss-of-function mutations in the Vacuolar Protein Sorting 13 Homolog A (VPS13A) gene, which encodes chorein. We previously produced a ChAc-model mouse with a homozygous deletion of exons 60-61 in Vps13a, which corresponded to the human disease mutation. We found that male ChAc-model mice exhibited complete infertility as a result of severely diminished sperm motility. Immunocytochemical study revealed that chorein-like immunoreactivity is abundant only in the midpiece, mitochondria-rich region, of the sperm of wild type mice. They showed no significant differences from wild types in terms of the adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) concentration of their sperm, sperm count, or sexual activity. Electron microscopy revealed abnormal ultrastructural morphology of the mitochondria in the midpiece of sperm from ChAc-model mice. These results suggest that chorein is essential in mouse sperm for the maintenance of ultrastructural mitochondrial morphology and sperm motility.
Keywords: Asthenozoospermia; ChAc-model mouse; Chorea-acanthocytosis; Chorein; Male infertility; Mitochondria; Vps13a.
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