The immunity-related GTPases (IRGs) belong to the interferon-inducible GTPase protein family, which mediates cell autonomous and innate immunity response to intracellular pathogens. Yet, the cellular and physiological function of IRGC, a member of the IRG subfamily, has not been elucidated. Here, we show that testis-specific IRGC is specifically and highly expressed in mature spermatozoa and is required for sperm motility. IRGC induction results in the clustering of lipid droplets and initiation of their physical contact with mitochondria. When examining clinical semen samples, IRGC expression is significantly lower in asthenozoospermia patients relative to healthy individuals. These unique effects of IRGC identify it as an important player in sperm motility, and show the potential of lipid metabolism-targeting therapeutic intervention aimed at controlling asthenozoospermia.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Structural Biology
- Molecular Biology
- Cell Biology