Development (Cambridge, England)

Absence of Dpy19l2, a new inner nuclear membrane protein, causes globozoospermia in mice by preventing the anchoring of the acrosome to the nucleus.

PMID 22764053


Sperm-head elongation and acrosome formation, which take place during the last stages of spermatogenesis, are essential to produce competent spermatozoa that are able to cross the oocyte zona pellucida and to achieve fertilization. During acrosome biogenesis, acrosome attachment and spreading over the nucleus are still poorly understood and to date no proteins have been described to link the acrosome to the nucleus. We recently demonstrated that a deletion of DPY19L2, a gene coding for an uncharacterized protein, was responsible for a majority of cases of type I globozoospermia, a rare cause of male infertility that is characterized by the exclusive production of round-headed acrosomeless spermatozoa. Here, using Dpy19l2 knockout mice, we describe the cellular function of the Dpy19l2 protein. We demonstrate that the protein is expressed predominantly in spermatids with a very specific localization restricted to the inner nuclear membrane facing the acrosomal vesicle. We show that the absence of Dpy19l2 leads to the destabilization of both the nuclear dense lamina (NDL) and the junction between the acroplaxome and the nuclear envelope. Consequently, the acrosome and the manchette fail to be linked to the nucleus leading to the disruption of vesicular trafficking, failure of sperm nuclear shaping and eventually to the elimination of the unbound acrosomal vesicle. Finally, we show for the first time that Dpy19l3 proteins are also located in the inner nuclear envelope, therefore implying that the Dpy19 proteins constitute a new family of structural transmembrane proteins of the nuclear envelope.