Cytochrome P450 17α-hydroxylase/17, 20-lyase (CYP17) is crucial for Cortisol and sex steroid biosynthesis. In a previous study we examined CYP17 function by generating mice with a targeted CYP17 deletion. We found that in addition to its role in steroid biosynthesis, CYP17 is present in germ cells. In the present study we examined the effect of CYP17 on sperm morphology. Disorganization of the sperm midpiece, small sperm mitochondria with reduced inner membranes and matrix, and irregular sperm shape were found to be associated with the CVP17 gene deletion. Treating the mice carrying the CYP17 deletion with testosterone did not alleviate the observed sperm phenotypes, suggesting that CYP17 acts in a testosterone-independent manner. These results suggest that CYP17, in addition to its role in androgen formation, is critical for proper mitochondrial architecture and sperm morphology and thus for sperm function and normal fertility.
- Gene deletion
- Mitochondria architecture
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Reproductive Medicine