The catalytic function of hormone-sensitive lipase is essential for fertility in male mice.

PMID 24797631


In male mice, deficiency of hormone sensitive lipase (HSL, Lipe gene, E.C. causes deficient spermatogenesis, azoospermia, and infertility. Postmeiotic germ cells express a specific HSL isoform that includes a 313 amino acid N-terminus encoded by a testis-specific exon (exon T1). The remainder of testicular HSL is identical to adipocyte HSL. The amino acid sequence of the testis-specific exon is poorly conserved, showing only a 46% amino acid identity with orthologous human and rat sequences, compared with 87% over the remainder of the HSL coding sequence, providing no evidence in favor of a vital functional role for the testis-specific N-terminus of HSL. However, exon T1 is important for Lipe transcription; in mouse testicular mRNA, we identified 3 major Lipe transcription start sites, finding numerous testicular transcription factor binding motifs upstream of the transcription start site. We directly explored two possible mechanisms for the infertility of HSL-deficient mice, using mice that expressed mutant HSL transgenes only in postmeiotic germ cells on a HSL-deficient background. One transgene expressed human HSL lacking enzyme activity but containing the testis-specific N-terminus (HSL-/-muttg mice). The other transgene expressed catalytically inactive HSL with the testis-specific N-terminal peptide (HSL-/-atg mice). HSL-/-muttg mice were infertile, with abnormal histology of the seminiferous epithelium and absence of spermatozoa in the epididymal lumen. In contrast, HSL-/-atg mice had normal fertility and normal testicular morphology. In conclusion, whereas the catalytic function of HSL is necessary for spermatogenesis in mice, the presence of the N-terminal testis-specific fragment is not essential.