A maternally inherited autosomal point mutation in human phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) leads to male infertility

Junaid Kashir, Michalis Konstantinidis, Celine Jones, Bernadette Lemmon, Hoi Chang Lee, Rebecca Hamer, Bjorn Heindryckx, Charlotte M. Deane, Petra De Sutter, Rafael A. Fissore, John Parrington, Dagan Wells, Kevin Coward

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Male factor and idiopathic infertility contribute significantly to global infertility, with abnormal testicular gene expression considered to be a major cause. Certain types of male infertility are caused by failure of the sperm to activate the oocyte, a process normally regulated by calcium oscillations, thought to be induced by a sperm-specific phospholipase C, PLCzeta (PLCζ). Previously, we identified a point mutation in an infertile male resulting in the substitution of histidine for proline at position 398 of the protein sequence (PLCζH398P), leading to abnormal PLCζ function and infertility. METHODS: AND RESULTSHere, using a combination of direct-sequencing and mini-sequencing of the PLCζ gene from the patient and his family, we report the identification of a second PLCζ mutation in the same patient resulting in a histidine to leucine substitution at position 233 (PLCζH233L), which is predicted to disrupt local protein interactions in a manner similar to PLCζH398P and was shown to exhibit abnormal calcium oscillatory ability following predictive 3D modelling and cRNA injection in mouse oocytes respectively. We show that PLCζH233L and PLCζH398P exist on distinct parental chromosomes, the former inherited from the patients mother and the latter from his father. Neither mutation was detected utilizing custom-made single-nucleotide polymorphism assays in 100 fertile males and females, or 8 infertile males with characterized oocyte activation deficiency. CONCLUSIONS: Collectively, our findings provide further evidence regarding the importance of PLCζ at oocyte activation and forms of male infertility where this is deficient. Additionally, we show that the inheritance patterns underlying male infertility are more complex than previously thought and may involve maternal mechanisms.

Original languageBritish English
Pages (from-to)222-231
Number of pages10
JournalHuman Reproduction
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2012


  • infertility
  • inheritance
  • oocyte activation
  • phophospholipase C zeta (PLCzeta)
  • sperm


Dive into the research topics of 'A maternally inherited autosomal point mutation in human phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) leads to male infertility'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this