Article ID: 2017-148
Although it is known that the susceptibility of mouse spermatozoa to freezing–thawing varies greatly with genetic background, the underlying mechanisms remain to be elucidated. In this study, to map genetic regions responsible for the susceptibility of spermatozoa to freezing–thawing, we performed in vitro fertilization using spermatozoa from recombinant inbred mice derived from the C57BL/6J and DBA/2J strains, whose spermatozoa showed distinct fertilization abilities after freezing. Genome-wide interval mapping identified two suggestive quantitative trait loci (QTL) associated with fertilization on chromosomes 1 and 11. The strongest QTL on chromosome 11 included 70 genes at 59.237260–61.324742 Mb and another QTL on chromosome 1 included 43 genes at 153.969506–158.217850 Mb. These regions included at least 15 genes involved with testicular expression and possibly with capacitation or sperm motility. Specifically, the Abl2 gene on chromosome 1, which may affect subcellular actin distribution, had polymorphisms between C57BL/6J and DBA/2J that caused at least three amino acid substitutions. A correlation analysis using recombinant inbred strains revealed that the fertilization rate was strongly correlated with the capacitation rate of frozen-thawed spermatozoa after preincubation. This result is consistent with the fact that C57BL/6J frozen–thawed spermatozoa recover their fertilization capacity following treatment with methyl-β-cyclodextrin to enhance sperm capacitation. Thus, our data provide important clues to the molecular mechanisms underlying cryodamage to mouse spermatozoa.