Molecular human reproduction

Polymorphism of the GRTH/DDX25 gene in normal and infertile Japanese men: a missense mutation associated with loss of GRTH phosphorylation.

PMID 17848414


The gonadotropin-regulated testicular RNA helicase (GRTH/Ddx25) is present in Leydig and germ cells of rodents, and is essential for fertility in mice. This study evaluated the incidence of GRTH/DDX25 gene mutations in a group of infertile patients with non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA), 85% with a preponderance of Sertoli cells in the seminiferous tubule and 15% with spermatogenic arrest, and compared them to a group of fertile subjects. Exonic sequences in the GRTH gene were screened using denaturing high-performance liquid chromatography of the genomic DNA from 143 NOA and 100 fertile Japanese men. A unique heterozygous missense mutation Arg(242)His in exon 8 was identified in 5.8% of Sertoli cell-only patients and in 1% of normal subjects. Although the mutant protein was efficiently expressed in COS-1 cells, only the 56 kDa nuclear/cytoplasmic non-phosphorylated species was present, whereas the 61 kDa cytosolic phosporylated species was absent. In addition, a silent mutation was identified in exon 11 in NOA subjects. The Arg(242)His missense mutation of the GRTH/DDX25 gene associated with expression of a protein with reduced basicity, and the absence of the phospho-GRTH species, could be of relevance to some of the functional aspects of the protein that impact on germ cell development and/or function.