A human infertility-associated KASH5 variant promotes mitochondrial localization

Sana A Bentebbal, Bakhita R Meqbel, Anna Salter, Victoria Allan, Brian Burke, Henning F Horn

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KASH5 is the most recently identified member of the KASH domain family of tail anchored, outer nuclear membrane (ONM) and endoplasmic reticulum (ER) proteins. During meiosis prophase I, KASH5 and SUN1 form a complex that spans the nuclear envelope and which links the telomeres of meiotic chromosomes to cytoplasmic dynein. This connection is essential for homologous chromosome dynamics and pairing. A recent study identified a variant in human KASH5 (L535Q) that correlated with male infertility associated with azoospermia. However, no molecular mechanism was described. Here, we report that this amino acid substitution, within the KASH5 transmembrane domain (TMD) has no predicted effects on secondary structure. However, the overall hydrophobicity of the L535Q TMD, is calculated to be lower than the wild-type KASH5, based on the GES (Goldman-Engelman-Steitz) amino acid hydrophobicity scale. This change in hydrophobicity profoundly affects the subcellular localization of KASH5. Through a series of amino acid substitution studies, we show that the L535Q substitution perturbs KASH5 localization to the ER and ONM and instead results in mistargeting to the mitochondria membrane. We suggest that this mislocalization accounts for the infertility and azoospermia phenotype in patients.

Original languageEnglish
Article number10133
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2021


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