Genetics of teratozoospermia: Back to the head

Beurois, Julie and Cazin, Caroline and Kherraf, Zine-Eddine and Martinez, Guillaume and Celse, Tristan and Touré, Aminata and Arnoult, Christophe and Ray, Pierre F and Coutton, Charles


Spermatozoa are polarized cells with a head and a flagellum joined by the connecting piece. Head integrity is critical for normal sperm function, and head defects consistently lead to male infertility. Abnormalities of the sperm head are among the most severe and characteristic sperm defects. Patients presenting with a monomorphic head sperm defects such as globozoospermia or marcrozoospermia were analyzed permitting to identify several key genes for spermatogenesis such as AURKC and DPY19L2. The study of patients with other specific sperm head defects such as acephalic spermatozoa have also enabled the identification of new infertility genes such as SUN5. Here, we review the genetic causes leading to morphological defects of sperm head. Advances in the genetics of male infertility are necessary to improve the management of infertility and will pave the road towards future strategies of treatments, especially for patients with the most severe phenotype as sperm head defects.