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RAB-Like 2 has an essential role in male fertility, sperm intra-flagellar transport, and tail assembly

Abstract

A significant percentage of young men are infertile and, for the majority, the underlying cause remains unknown. Male infertility is, however, frequently associated with defective sperm motility, wherein the sperm tail is a modified flagella/cilia. Conversely, a greater understanding of essential mechanisms involved in tail formation may offer contraceptive opportunities, or more broadly, therapeutic strategies for global cilia defects. Here we have identified Rab-like 2 (RABL2) as an essential requirement for sperm tail assembly and function. RABL2 is a member of a poorly characterized clade of the RAS GTPase superfamily. RABL2 is highly enriched within developing male germ cells, where it localizes to the mid-piece of the sperm tail. Lesser amounts of Rabl2 mRNA were observed in other tissues containing motile cilia. Using a co-immunoprecipitation approach and RABL2 affinity columns followed by immunochemistry, we demonstrated that within developing haploid germ cells RABL2 interacts with intra-flagella transport (IFT) proteins and delivers a specific set of effector (cargo) proteins, including key members of the glycolytic pathway, to the sperm tail. RABL2 binding to effector proteins is regulated by GTP. Perturbed RABL2 function, as exemplified by the Mot mouse line that contains a mutation in a critical protein-protein interaction domain, results in male sterility characterized by reduced sperm output, and sperm with aberrant motility and short tails. Our data demonstrate a novel function for the RABL protein family, an essential role for RABL2 in male fertility and a previously uncharacterised mechanism for protein delivery to the flagellum.

Type Journal
Authors Lo, J. C.; Jamsai, D.; O'Connor, A. E.; Borg, C.; Clark, B. J.; Whisstock, J. C.; Field, M. C.; Adams, V.; Ishikawa, T.; Aitken, R. J.; Whittle, B.; Goodnow, C. C.; Ormandy, C. J.; O'Bryan, M. K.;
Garvan Authors Prof Chris Ormandy
Publisher Name PLOS GENET
Published Date 2012-10-12 00:00:00
Published Volume 8
Published Issue 10
Published Pages e1002969
URL http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23055941
Status Published In-print
OpenAccess Link https://publications.gimr.garvan.org.au/download.php?11319_12096/12_Lo_PlosGen_.pdf