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J Androl. 1997 Nov-Dec;18(6):663-71.

Hst7: a male sterility mutation perturbing sperm motility, flagellar assembly, and mitochondrial sheath differentiation.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19140, USA.


Hst7, a mouse hybrid sterility locus, has been mapped in close linkage to four other hybrid sterility loci, on proximal chromosome 17 within the t complex. When an allele (s) of Hst7 from the species Mus spretus is crossed into the Mus musculus domesticus (laboratory mouse) background, all male offspring are sterile. This occurs regardless of whether the Hst7 allele on the other chromosome 17 homolog is wild-type (+) or an allele (t) derived from the structurally variant homolog known as a t haplotype. Males of the Hst7 genotype s/+ produce sperm that, after release from the cauda epididymis, display moderate asthenospermia (straight line velocity = 49 +/- 4 microm/second, significantly lower than 102 +/- 7 microm/second for congenic wild-type controls) and normal morphology. However, males of the Hst7 genotype s/t produce sperm whose forward movement is below the detectable limit of the sperm motion analysis system. In addition, these sperm exhibit a variety of flagellar abnormalities, with about one third having normal heads attached to sacklike caudal regions. These sacks consist of membrane-delimited cytoplasm containing disorganized and/or misshapen axonemal elements. The remainder of the sperm from s/t mice have flagella with seemingly normal axonemes, although many exhibit enlarged areas of cytoplasm in their midpieces with extra layers of misaligned mitochondria. The s/t sperm mitochondria also display diffuse and vacuolated matrices reminiscent of meiotic germ cell and spermatid mitochondria. Observations of developing spermatids in the s/t testis reveal an unusual phenotype in which gaps of varying length occur in the mitochondrial wrapping of the midpiece. These data suggest that both the s and t alleles of Hst7 are defective alleles that contribute differentially to the severe asthenospermia phenotype and interact genetically to perturb flagellar development.

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