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OBJECTIVE: To examine the underlying factors leading to infertility in a male patient from whom phospholipase C zeta H398P (PLCζ(H398P), histidine > proline) and PLCζ(H233L) (histidine > leucine) mutations were previously identified. DESIGN: Laboratory-based study. SETTING: University laboratory. PATIENT(S): An infertile 38-year-old man with significantly impaired oocyte activation ability. INTERVENTION(S): Minisequencing of individual sperm for PLCζ(H398P) and PLCζ(H233L), and investigation of localization patterns arising from the expression of fluorescently tagged PLCζ isoforms in HEK293T cells. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): The presence/absence of PLCζ(H398P) and PLCζ(H233L) determined in individual sperm (n = 12 sperm), and localization of fluorescent mutant PLCζ isoforms quantified in HEK293T cells. RESULT(S): Sperm possessed either PLCζ(H233L) or PLCζ(H398P), but never both at the same time. Fluorescent PLCζ(H233L) and PLCζ(H233L+H398P) (both mutations together) localized to discrete regions in HEK293T cytoplasm but not the plasma membrane. Fluorescence statistically significantly varied between constructs such that PLCζ(WT) > mutant isoforms at both 48- and 56-hour time points. Fluorescent-PLCζ(H233L+H398P) exhibited a statistically significantly reduced level of fluorescence compared with PLCζ(H398P) at 48 hours but not 56 hours. CONCLUSION(S): Both H398P and H233L mutations are present on different alleles and do not alter PLCζ localization in HEK293T cells. Loss-of-activity mutations in PLCζ may contribute not only toward male infertility but also male subfertility in cases where PLCζ is mutated on a single allele.

Original publication




Journal article


Fertil Steril

Publication Date





423 - 431


Adult, Alleles, Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic, Genetic Carrier Screening, HEK293 Cells, Humans, Infertility, Male, Male, Mutation, Oocytes, Phosphoinositide Phospholipase C, Sequence Analysis, DNA, Spermatozoa