Molecular quantitative trait loci in reproductive tissues impact male fertility in cattle.

TitleMolecular quantitative trait loci in reproductive tissues impact male fertility in cattle.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2024
AuthorsMapel, XMarie, Kadri, NKumar, Leonard, AS, He, Q, Lloret-Villas, A, Bhati, M, Hiltpold, M, Pausch, H
JournalNat Commun
Date Published2024 Jan 22
KeywordsAnimals, Cattle, Consensus, Epididymis, Fertility, Humans, Male, Mice, Quantitative Trait Loci, Testis

Breeding bulls are well suited to investigate inherited variation in male fertility because they are genotyped and their reproductive success is monitored through semen analyses and thousands of artificial inseminations. However, functional data from relevant tissues are lacking in cattle, which prevents fine-mapping fertility-associated genomic regions. Here, we characterize gene expression and splicing variation in testis, epididymis, and vas deferens transcriptomes of 118 mature bulls and conduct association tests between 414,667 molecular phenotypes and 21,501,032 genome-wide variants to identify 41,156 regulatory loci. We show broad consensus in tissue-specific and tissue-enriched gene expression between the three bovine tissues and their human and murine counterparts. Expression- and splicing-mediating variants are more than three times as frequent in testis than epididymis and vas deferens, highlighting the transcriptional complexity of testis. Finally, we identify genes (WDR19, SPATA16, KCTD19, ZDHHC1) and molecular phenotypes that are associated with quantitative variation in male fertility through transcriptome-wide association and colocalization analyses.

Alternate JournalNat Commun
PubMed ID38253538
PubMed Central IDPMC10803364
Grant List185229 / / Schweizerischer Nationalfonds zur Förderung der Wissenschaftlichen Forschung (Swiss National Science Foundation) /
815668 / / EC | EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation H2020 | H2020 European Institute of Innovation and Technology (H2020 The European Institute of Innovation and Technology) /