Reproductive diseases have a significant impact on human health, especially on women’s health: endometriosis affects 10% of all reproductive-aged women but is often undiagnosed for many years, and preeclampsia claims over 70,000 maternal and 500,000 neonatal lives every year. Infertility rates are also rising. However, relatively few new treatments or diagnostics for reproductive diseases have emerged in recent decades. Here, based on analyses of PubMed, we report that the number of research articles published on non-reproductive organs is 4.5 times higher than the number published on reproductive organs. Moreover, for the two most-researched reproductive organs (breast and prostate), the focus is on non-reproductive diseases such as cancer. Further, analyses of grant databases maintained by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and the National Institutes of Health in the United States show that the number of grants for research on non-reproductive organs is 6-7 times higher than the number for reproductive organs. Our results suggest that there are too few researchers working in the field of reproductive health and disease, and that funders, educators and the research community must take action to combat this longstanding disregard for reproductive science.
All data were obtained from public databases (PubMed/NCBI, NIH and CIHR).
- Natalie Diana Mercuri
- Brian J Cox
The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.
- Peter Rodgers, eLife, United Kingdom
© 2022, Mercuri & Cox
This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License permitting unrestricted use and redistribution provided that the original author and source are credited.
Imaging experiments reveal the complex and dynamic nature of the transcriptional hubs associated with Notch signaling.
Cylicins are testis-specific proteins, which are exclusively expressed during spermiogenesis. In mice and humans, two Cylicins, the gonosomal X-linked Cylicin 1 (Cylc1/CYLC1) and the autosomal Cylicin 2 (Cylc2/CYLC2) genes, have been identified. Cylicins are cytoskeletal proteins with an overall positive charge due to lysine-rich repeats. While Cylicins have been localized in the acrosomal region of round spermatids, they resemble a major component of the calyx within the perinuclear theca at the posterior part of mature sperm nuclei. However, the role of Cylicins during spermiogenesis has not yet been investigated. Here, we applied CRISPR/Cas9-mediated gene editing in zygotes to establish Cylc1- and Cylc2-deficient mouse lines as a model to study the function of these proteins. Cylc1 deficiency resulted in male subfertility, whereas Cylc2-/-, Cylc1-/yCylc2+/-, and Cylc1-/yCylc2-/- males were infertile. Phenotypical characterization revealed that loss of Cylicins prevents proper calyx assembly during spermiogenesis. This results in decreased epididymal sperm counts, impaired shedding of excess cytoplasm, and severe structural malformations, ultimately resulting in impaired sperm motility. Furthermore, exome sequencing identified an infertile man with a hemizygous variant in CYLC1 and a heterozygous variant in CYLC2, displaying morphological abnormalities of the sperm including the absence of the acrosome. Thus, our study highlights the relevance and importance of Cylicins for spermiogenic remodeling and male fertility in human and mouse, and provides the basis for further studies on unraveling the complex molecular interactions between perinuclear theca proteins required during spermiogenesis.