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Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 267–275 | Cite as

Histone modification signatures in human sperm distinguish clinical abnormalities

  • Samantha B. SchonEmail author
  • Lacey J. Luense
  • Xiaoshi Wang
  • Marisa S. Bartolomei
  • Christos Coutifaris
  • Benjamin A. Garcia
  • Shelley L. BergerEmail author
Gamete Biology

Abstract

Purpose

Alternations to the paternal epigenome, specifically the components of sperm chromatin, can lead to infertility in humans and potentially transmit aberrant information to the embryo. One key component of sperm chromatin is the post-translational modification of histones (PTMs). We previously identified a comprehensive profile of histone PTMs in normozoospermic sperm; however, only specific histone PTMs have been identified in abnormal sperm by antibody-based approaches and comprehensive changes to histone PTM profiles remain unknown. Here, we investigate if sperm with abnormalities of total motility, progressive motility, and morphology have altered histone PTM profiles compared to normozoospermic sperm samples.

Methods

Discarded semen samples from 31 men with normal or abnormal semen parameters were analyzed for relative abundance of PTMs on histone H3 and H4 by “bottom-up” nano-liquid chromatography-tandem mass spectrometry.

Results

Asthenoteratozoospermic samples (abnormal motility, forward progression, and morphology, n = 6) displayed overall decreased H4 acetylation (p = 0.001) as well as alterations in H4K20 (p = 0.003) and H3K9 methylation (p < 0.04) when compared to normozoospermic samples (n = 8). Asthenozoospermic samples (abnormal motility and progression, n = 5) also demonstrated decreased H4 acetylation (p = 0.04) and altered H4K20 (p = 0.005) and H3K9 methylation (p < 0.04). Samples with isolated abnormal progression (n = 6) primarily demonstrated decreased acetylation on H4 (p < 0.02), and teratozoospermic samples (n = 6) appeared similar to normozoospermic samples (n = 8).

Conclusion

Sperm samples with combined and isolated abnormalities of total motility, progressive motility, and morphology display distinct and altered histone PTM signatures compared to normozoospermic sperm. This provides evidence that alterations in histone PTMs may be important for normal sperm function and fertility.

Keywords

Histones Post-translational modifications Paternal epigenetics Sperm Male infertility 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We would like to thank all of the staff at the Penn Fertility Care Andrology laboratory for their assistance, time, and effort in the de-identification of samples used in this study. In addition, we would like to thank The Penn Center for the Study of Epigenetics in Reproduction.

Funding

This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health Grants P50HD06817 (S.L.B./M.S.B./C.C/L.J.L), T32HD040135 (S.B.S/C.C), 5K12HD065257-07 (S.B.S), F32HD086939 (L.J.L.), and GM110174 (B.A.G).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Approval for this study was obtained from the University of Pennsylvania Institutional Review Board (Protocol 815929).

Informed consent

As all samples were discarded and de-identified, the University of Pennsylvania Institutional Review Board determined that this study was exempt from requiring informed consent.

Supplementary material

10815_2018_1354_MOESM1_ESM.docx (19 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 19 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samantha B. Schon
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Lacey J. Luense
    • 3
    • 4
  • Xiaoshi Wang
    • 4
    • 5
  • Marisa S. Bartolomei
    • 3
    • 4
  • Christos Coutifaris
    • 1
  • Benjamin A. Garcia
    • 4
    • 5
  • Shelley L. Berger
    • 3
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Division of Reproductive Endocrinology & Infertility, Department of Obstetrics and GynecologyUniversity of Michigan Medical SchoolAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Department of Cell and Developmental Biology, Perelman School of Medicine, 9-125 Smilow Center for Translational ResearchUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  4. 4.Epigenetics Institute, Perelman School of Medicine, 9-125 Smilow Center for Translational ResearchUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA
  5. 5.Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Perelman School of Medicine, 9-125 Smilow Center for Translational ResearchUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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