, Volume 7, Issue 11, pp 835-842

Degeneracy in human multicopy RBM (YRRM), a candidate spermatogenesis gene

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In order to search for mutations in the multicopy RBM genes that might be associated with male infertility, we have used sequence data from the reported cDNA clone to determine the intron exon boundaries of the YRRM 1 gene. This gene has 12 exons, three of which encode the putative RNA binding domain of the protein. Different copies of the gene contain sequence variations and, additionally, give rise to transcripts with different numbers of copies of the repeated SRGY motif. Since mutations in the RNA binding domain would seem likely to have an effect on the activity of the protein, we have scanned these exons for mutations by SSCP on DNA from normal and infertile men. Sequence differences in the exon encoding the N-terminal part of the RNA binding domain account for at least four different classes of the gene and give rise to different SSCP conformers. Sequence analysis shows that one of these classes is a pseudogene and that the members of another class are nonfunctional. RT-PCR shows that all classes are transcribed and that the A class is most abundant. We have found a point mutation that alters the highly conserved RNP2 motif in one infertile patient. This mutation is also found in his father. We have used PCR followed by SSCP analysis to map RBM on a Y Chromosome (Chr) YAC contig and have demonstrated a distribution that spans a major part of this chromosome’s euchromatin.