Evidence for the involvement of the proximal copy of theMAGEA9gene in Xq28-linked CNV67 specific to spermatogenic failure†

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Spermatogenic failure characterized by impaired sperm production is a common multifactorial disease with molecular and cytogenetic causes for its extreme phenotype that include azoospermia and severe oliogzoospermia. Recently, a high-resolution array-comparative genomic hybridization analysis of the X chromosome and a subsequent cohort study revealed three X-linked microdeletions (CNV64, CNV67, and CNV69) that were associated with decreased sperm production in a mixed group that included Spanish and Italian males. To confirm their spermatogenic effect, we examined the hemizygous deletions and copy dosage of the MAGE family member A9 (MAGEA9) gene, which is a potential X-linked candidate for the CNV67-related spermatogenic phenotype, to investigate their association with spermatogenic failure in 1722 Han males from southwest China. The individuals in this group consisted of 884 patients with idiopathic azoospermia/oliogzoospermia and 838 controls with normozoospermia. Our results showed that both CNV64 and CNV69 were more common in patients than in controls. Similar to that reported previously, the CNV67 was also identified as being specific to spermatogenic failure in our population, although it was rare. More importantly, the paralog ratio tests and sequence family variant analyses provided evidence that the CNV67 might cause a partial deletion of the proximal copy of the MAGEA9 and suggests that CNV67-related spermatogenic failure may be attributed to the functional defect of the Cancer/Testis gene. Our findings highlight the potential of the Xq-linked CNV67 to serve as a novel detection target in the etiological diagnosis of spermatogenic failure and male infertility, although its pathogenic mechanism remains to be elucidated.

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