A new deletion of the mouse Y chromosome long arm associated with the loss of Ssty expression, abnormal sperm development and sterility

Touré, Aminata and Szot, Maria and Mahadevaiah, Shantha K and Rattigan, Aine and Ojarikre, Obah A and Burgoyne, Paul S


The mouse Y chromosome carries 10 distinct genes or gene families that have open reading frames suggestive of retained functionality; it has been assumed that many of these function in spermatogenesis. However, we have recently shown that only two Y genes, the testis determinant Sry and the translation initiation factor Eif2s3y, are essential for spermatogenesis to proceed to the round spermatid stage. Thus, any further substantive mouse Y-gene functions in spermatogenesis are likely to be during sperm differentiation. The complex Ssty gene family present on the mouse Y long arm (Yq) has been implicated in sperm development, with partial Yq deletions that reduce Ssty expression resulting in impaired fertilization efficiency. Here we report the identification of a more extensive Yq deletion that abolishes Ssty expression and results in severe sperm defects and sterility. This result establishes that genetic information (Ssty?) essential for normal sperm differentiation and function is present on mouse Yq.