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SEPT12 orchestrates the formation of mammalian sperm annulus by organizing core octomeric complexes with other SEPT proteins.

Kuo Y.C., Shen Y.R., Chen H.I., Lin Y.H., Wang Y.Y., Chen Y.R., Wang C.Y., Kuo P.L.

Male infertility has become a worldwide health problem, but the etiologies of most cases are still unknown. SEPT12, a GTP-binding protein, is involved in male fertility. Two SEPT12 mutations (SEPT12(T89M) and SEPT12(D197N)) have been identified in infertile men who have a defective sperm annulus with a bent tail. The function of SEPT12 in the sperm annulus is still unclear. Here, we found that SEPT12 formed a filamentous structure with SEPT7, SEPT 6, SEPT2 and SEPT4 at the sperm annulus. The SEPT12-based septin core complex was assembled as octameric filaments comprising the SEPT proteins 12-7-6-2-2-6-7-12 or 12-7-6-4-4-6-7-12. In addition, the GTP-binding domain of SEPT12 was crucial for its interaction with SEPT7, and the N- and C-termini of SEPT12 were required for the interaction of SEPT12 with itself to polymerize octamers into filaments. Mutant mice carrying the SEPT12(D197N) mutation, which disrupts SEPT12 filament formation, showed a disorganized sperm annulus, bent tail, reduced motility and loss of the SEPT ring structure at the sperm annulus. These phenotypes were also observed in an infertile man carrying SEPT12(D197N). Taken together, our results demonstrate the molecular architecture of SEPT12 filaments at the sperm annulus, their mechanical support of sperm motility, and their correlation with male infertility.

J. Cell Sci. 128:923-934(2015) [PubMed] [Europe PMC]

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