True hermaphroditism in a 46,XY individual, caused by a postzygotic somatic point mutation in the male gonadal sex-determining locus (SRY): molecular genetics and histological findings in a sporadic case

Am J Hum Genet. 1993 Mar;52(3):578-85.


Recently, the gene for the determination of maleness has been identified in the sex-determining region on the short arm of the Y chromosome (SRY) between the Y-chromosomal pseudoautosomal boundary (PABY) and the ZFY gene locus. Experiments with transgenic mice confirmed that SRY is a part of the testis-determining factor (TDF). We describe a sporadic case of a patient with intersexual genitalia and the histological finding of ovotestes in the gonad, which resembles the mixed type of gonadal tissue without primordial follicle structures. The karyotype of the patient was 46,XY. By PCR amplification, we tested for the presence of PABY, SRY, and ZFY by using DNA isolated from peripheral blood leukocytes and for the presence of SRY by using DNA obtained from histological gonadal slices. The SRY products of both DNA preparations were further analyzed by direct sequencing. All three parts of the sex-determining region of the Y chromosome could be amplified from leukocytic DNA. The patient's and the father's SRY sequences were identical with the published sequence. In the SRY PCR product of gonadal DNA, the wild-type and two point mutations were present in the patient's sequence, simulating a heterozygous state of a Y-chromosomal gene: one of the mutations was silent, while the other encoded for a nonconservative amino acid substitution from leucine to histidine. Subcloning procedures showed that the two point mutations always occurred together. The origin of the patient's intersexuality is a postzygotic mutation of the SRY occurring in part of the gonadal tissue. This event caused the loss of the testis-determining function in affected cells.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Base Sequence
  • DNA / blood
  • DNA / genetics
  • DNA / isolation & purification
  • Disorders of Sex Development / genetics*
  • Disorders of Sex Development / pathology
  • Disorders of Sex Development / surgery
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukocytes / physiology
  • Male
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • Ovum / pathology
  • Point Mutation*
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction / methods
  • Sex Determination Analysis*
  • Testis / pathology
  • X Chromosome*
  • Y Chromosome*


  • Oligodeoxyribonucleotides
  • DNA

Associated data

  • GENBANK/L07483
  • GENBANK/S56543