The mouse Y chromosome long arm (Yq) comprises ∼70 Mb of repetitive, male-specific DNA together with a short (0.7-Mb) pseudoautosomal region (PAR). The repetitive non-PAR region (NPYq) encodes genes whose deficiency leads to subfertility and infertility, resulting from impaired spermiogenesis. In XSxraY*X mice, the only Y-specific material is provided by the Y chromosome short arm-derived sex reversal factor Sxra, which is attached to the X chromosome PAR; these males (NPYq- males) produce sperm with severely malformed heads and are infertile. In the present study, we investigated sperm function in these mice in the context of intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI). Of 261 oocytes injected, 103 reached the 2-cell stage, and 46 developed to liveborn offspring. Using Xist RT-PCR genotyping as well as gamete and somatic cell karyotyping, all six predicted genotypes were identified among ICSI-derived progeny. The sex chromosome constitution of NPYq- males does not allow production of offspring with the same genotype, but one of the expected offspring genotypes is XY*XSxra (NPYq-2), which has the same Y gene complement as NPYq-. Analysis of NPYq-2 males revealed they had normal-sized testes with ongoing spermatogenesis. Like NPYq- males, these males were infertile, and their sperm had malformed heads that nevertheless fertilized eggs via ICSI. In vitro fertilization (IVF), however, was unsuccessful. Overall, we demonstrated that a lack of NPYq-encoded genes does not interfere with the ability of sperm to fertilize oocytes via ICSI but does prevent fertilization via IVF. Thus, NPYq-encoded gene functions are not required after the sperm have entered the oocyte. The present work also led to development of a new mouse model lacking NPYq gene complement that will facilitate future studies of Y-encoded gene function.
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