Sperm-specific phospholipase C zeta (PLCζ) is widely considered to be the physiological stimulus that evokes intracellular calcium (Ca2+) oscillations that are essential for the initiation of egg activation during mammalian fertilisation. A recent genetic study reported a male infertility case that was directly associated with a point mutation in the PLCζ C2 domain, where an isoleucine residue had been substituted with a phenylalanine (I489F). Here, we have analysed the effect of this mutation on the in vivo Ca2+ oscillation-inducing activity and the in vitro biochemical properties of human PLCζ. Microinjection of cRNA or recombinant protein corresponding to PLCζI489F mutant at physiological concentrations completely failed to cause Ca2+ oscillations and trigger development. However, this infertile phenotype could be effectively rescued by microinjection of relatively high (non-physiological) amounts of recombinant mutant PLCζI489F protein, leading to Ca2+ oscillations and egg activation. Our in vitro biochemical analysis suggested that the PLCζI489F mutant displayed similar enzymatic properties, but dramatically reduced binding to PI(3)P and PI(5)P-containing liposomes compared with wild-type PLCζ. Our findings highlight the importance of PLCζ at fertilisation and the vital role of the C2 domain in PLCζ function, possibly due to its novel binding characteristics.
Male infertility-linked point mutation reveals a vital binding role for the C2 domain of sperm PLCζ
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Michail Nomikos, Panagiotis Stamatiadis, Jessica R. Sanders, Konrad Beck, Brian L. Calver, Luke Buntwal, Morgan Lofty, Zili Sideratou, Karl Swann, F. Anthony Lai; Male infertility-linked point mutation reveals a vital binding role for the C2 domain of sperm PLCζ. Biochem J 15 March 2017; 474 (6): 1003–1016. doi: https://doi.org/10.1042/BCJ20161057
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