Oral Presentation The Joint Annual Scientific Meetings of the Endocrine Society of Australia and the Society for Reproductive Biology 2017

An essential function for a lonely SOX (#42)

Josephine Bowles 1 2 , Chun-Wei Feng 1 2 , Cassy Spiller 1 , Moira K O'Bryan 3 , Peter Koopman 2
  1. School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
  2. Institute for Molecular Bioscience, University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia
  3. Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology and Development and Stem Cell Program, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

Male infertility is a major and growing problem and, in most cases, the specific root cause is unknown. Here we show that the transcription factor SOX30 plays a critical role in mouse spermatogenesis. Sox30-null mice are healthy and females are fertile, but males are sterile. In the absence of Sox30 meiosis proceeds normally in both sexes but, in males, germ cell development arrests during the post-meiotic round spermatid period. In the prepubertal testis multinucleated germ cells (symplasts) form and acrosome development is aberrant, with round spermatids unable to process from step 3 to step 4. No mature sperm are produced. Thus, Sox30 represents a rare example of a gene for which loss of function results in a complete arrest of spermatogenesis at the onset of spermiogenesis. Sox30 expression is highly specific to the germ cell lineage and, intriguingly, its expression profile is very similar to that of Crem-tau, a long-acknowledged master regulator of spermiogenesis. Our results suggest that SOX30 mutations may underlie some instances of unexplained non-obstructive azoospermia in humans.