Specific expression of VCY2 in human male germ cells and its involvement in the pathogenesis of male infertility

Jenny Y.M. Tse, E. Y.M. Wong, A. N.Y. Cheung, W. S. O, P. C. Tam, W. S.B. Yeung

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Abnormal spermatogenesis in men with Y-chromosome microdeletions suggests that genes important for spermatogenesis have been removed from these individuals. VCY2 is a testis-specific gene that locates in the most frequently deleted azoospermia factor c region in the Y chromosome. We have raised an antiserum to VCY2 and used it to characterize the localization of VCY2 in human testis. Using Western blot analysis, the affinity-purified polyclonal VCY2 antibody gave a single specific band of approximately 14 kDa in size, corresponding to the expected size of VCY2 in all the collected human testicular biopsy specimens with normal spermatogenesis. Immunohistochemical analyses showed that VCY2 localized to the nuclei of spermatogonia, spermatocytes, and round spermatids, except elongated spermatids. At the ultrastructural level, VCY2 expression was found in the nucleus of human ejaculated spermatozoa. To determine the possible relationship of VCY2 with the pathogenesis of male infertility, we examined a group of infertile men with and without Y-chromosome microdeletions and with known testicular pathology using VCY2 antibody. VCY2 was weakly expressed at the spermatogonia and immunonegative in spermatocytes and round spermatids in testicular biopsy specimens with maturation arrest or hypospermatogenesis. The specific localization of the protein in germ cell nuclei indicates that VCY2 is likely to function in male germ cell development. The impaired expression of VCY2 in infertile men suggests its involvement in the pathogenesis of male infertility.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)746-751
Number of pages6
JournalBiology of Reproduction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2003
Externally publishedYes


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