Vps13b is required for acrosome biogenesis through functions in Golgi dynamic and membrane trafficking

  • Romain Da CostaEmail author
  • Morgane Bordessoules
  • Magali Guilleman
  • Virginie Carmignac
  • Vincent Lhussiez
  • Hortense Courot
  • Amandine Bataille
  • Amandine Chlémaire
  • Céline Bruno
  • Patricia Fauque
  • Christel Thauvin
  • Laurence Faivre
  • Laurence Duplomb
Original Article


The sperm acrosome is a lysosome-related organelle that develops using membrane trafficking from the Golgi apparatus as well as the endolysosomal compartment. How vesicular trafficking is regulated in spermatids to form the acrosome remains to be elucidated. VPS13B, a RAB6-interactor, was recently shown involved in endomembrane trafficking. Here, we report the generation of the first Vps13b-knockout mouse model and show that male mutant mice are infertile due to oligoasthenoteratozoospermia. This phenotype was explained by a failure of Vps13b deficient spermatids to form an acrosome. In wild-type spermatids, immunostaining of Vps13b and Rab6 revealed that they transiently locate to the acrosomal inner membrane. Spermatids lacking Vps13b did not present with the Golgi structure that characterizes wild-type spermatids and showed abnormal targeting of PNA- and Rab6-positive Golgi-derived vesicles to Eea1- and Lamp2-positive structures. Altogether, our results uncover a function of Vps13b in the regulation of the vesicular transport between Golgi apparatus, acrosome, and endolysosome.


Male infertility Globozoospermia Oligospermia Spermatogenesis Spermiogenesis Acrosomogenesis Endosome Lysosome Vesicular transport 



This work from the FHU TRANSLAD is supported by the Conseil Régional de Bourgogne through the plan d’actions régional pour l’innovation (PARI) and the European Union through the PO FEDER-FSE Bourgogne 2014/2020 programs. The mouse mutant line was established at the Mouse Clinical Institute (Institut Clinique de la Souris, MCI/ICS) in the Genetic Engineering and Model Validation Department with funds from Fondation Maladies Rares. The UMR1231 CellImaP/DimaCell core facility that is supported by the Regional Council of Bourgogne-Franche Comté and the FEDER. We also thank Christine Arnould and Elodie Noirot from the Dimacell Imaging Facility (Agrosup Dijon, INRA, INSERM, University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté, F-21000 Dijon, France) for their support with confocal microscopy. The authors gratefully acknowledge the animal facility of Centre des Sciences du Goût et de l’Alimentation (INRA, Dijon, France) for animal care taking. Finally, we thank Gaëtan Jego for his comments on the manuscript.

Author contributions

Conceptualization, RC and LD; Funding acquisition, CT and LF; Resources, PF, CT, and LF; Investigation, RC, MB, MG, VC, VL, HC, AB, and AC; Validation, RC and MB; Formal analysis, RC; Writing—original draft, RC; Writing—review and editing, RC, LD, CB, PF, CT, and LF; Supervision, RC and LD.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interests.

Supplementary material

18_2019_3192_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (912 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 912 kb) Supplemental Figure 1. (A) Electron micrographs of a Vps13b+/+ (left panel) and a Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 (right panel) flagellum cross-section showing that the cytoskeletal structure of the flagellum is not affected by the lack of Vps13b. (B) Electron micrographs of a Vps13b+/+ (left panel) and a Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 (right panel) late spermatid cross-section at the developing middle piece showing that mitochondrial organization around the flagellum is not affected in mutant spermatids. (C) Hematoxylin/Eosin-stained testicular sections showing multinucleated giant late spermatids in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 sections (right panel) but not Vps13b+/+sections (left panel). Those giant spermatids were sometimes highly vacuolated (arrow). Scale bar, 50 µm. (D) Electron micrographs of multinucleated early (left panel) and late (right panel) spermatids in a Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 ultra-thin section. The late spermatid presents once again with large vacuoles. (E) Electron micrographs showing unusually large syncytial pores (dashed squares) in the mutant testicular syncytium
18_2019_3192_MOESM2_ESM.pdf (656 kb)
Supplementary material 2 (PDF 656 kb) Supplemental Figure 2. Transcriptional activity related to acrosomogenesis is not severely affected in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 mice. (A) Transcript levels of acrosomal genes Acrbp, Acrosin, Dpy19l2, Sp56, Spaca1, Spaca7, Zpbp1 and Zpbp2. (B) Transcript levels of factors required for proper acrosome biogenesis: Brdt, Cul4b, Dazap1, Ddx4, Hrb, Rfx2, Spata16, Tdrd6 and Vps54. As per Welch two sample t-test, no significant differences were measured between mutant and wild-type levels. Values are presented as the mean ± SD (N=3). (D) Ddx4 immunostaining on mutant and wild-type testicular sections. Scale bar, 10 µm. (E) Electron micrograph of a CB in a mutant spermatid. The CB is enlarged in the right panel
18_2019_3192_MOESM3_ESM.pdf (567 kb)
Supplementary material 3 (PDF 566 kb) Supplemental Figure 3. Acrosomal protein Spaca1 is not targeted to the anterior nuclear membrane in mutant spermatids. Spaca1 immunostaining on wild-type (A) and mutant (B) isolated spermatids. While Spaca1 displayed an inner acrosomal membrane localization throughout cap, acrosome and maturation phase, it appeared dispersed and in forms of vesicles within mutant spermatids. Spaca1 staining sometimes overlapped with PNA-positive vesicles thereby confirming the acrosomal content of those vesicles
18_2019_3192_MOESM4_ESM.pdf (377 kb)
Supplementary material 4 (PDF 377 kb) Supplemental Figure 4. Confirmation of the localization of PNA-positive vesicles to the endosome of cap phase Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids by confocal microscopy. Upper panels, wild-type spermatids. Lower panels, mutant spermatids. Scale bar, 10 µm
18_2019_3192_MOESM5_ESM.pdf (351 kb)
Supplementary material 5 (PDF 351 kb) Supplemental Figure 5. Confirmation of the targeting of an acrosomal protein (Spaca1) to the lysosome of cap phase Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids by confocal microscopy. Upper panels, wild-type spermatids. Lower panels, mutant spermatids. Scale bar, 10 µm
18_2019_3192_MOESM6_ESM.pdf (948 kb)
Supplementary material 6 (PDF 947 kb) Supplemental Figure 6. Impaired actin remodeling in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids. (A) Images of testicular sections stained with F-actin, PNA and DAPI. In wild-type Sertoli cells, actin filaments organized at the ectoplasmic specialization over the spermatid acrosomal region in early acrosome phase (stage 9). Actin filaments remained associated with the spermatid head until the last stage of maturation phase (stage 16). Then, they dissociated from mature spermatids to reassemble over the acrosome of newly formed acrosome phase spermatids. This cyclic dynamic of actin filaments was not observed in mutant spermatids. Instead, they associated with the plasma membrane of early spermatids. Scale bar, 50 µm. Panel (B) provides a close-up image on early mutant spermatids. (C) Electron micrographs showing actin filaments associated with the plasma membrane of an early mutant spermatid (left panel) but not late mutant spermatid (right spermatid). (D) Electron micrograph of a perinuclear ring in a Vps13b+/+ early spermatid at the edge of the NDL. (E) Electron micrographs of an extremity of the NDL in a Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 early spermatid. Dashed squares highlight the NDL extremities and are enlarged in the right panels of (D) and (E). Cytoskeletal filaments constituting the perinuclear ring are missing at the NDL of Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids
18_2019_3192_MOESM7_ESM.pdf (711 kb)
Supplementary material 7 (PDF 710 kb) Supplemental Figure 7. Post-acrosome differentiation events still occur in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids. (A) Spata6 staining of wild-type and mutant seminiferous tubules displaying spermatids in maturation phase. Though nuclear condensation was incomplete and acrosome was lacking, Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids displayed a perinuclear localization of Spata6 as in wild-type spermatids. This result suggests that expression and transport of middle piece proteins, unlike that of acrosomal proteins, are not entirely impaired in absence of Vps13b function. (B) β-Tubulin staining on wild-type and mutant testicular sections counterstained with PNA and DAPI. Both genotypes displayed microtubule polymerization during acrosome phase (stage9-12) and disassembly during maturation phase (stage 13-16). Microtubules in mutant spermatids failed to form the manchette structure seen in wild-type spermatids likely because of the lack of acrosomal components that allow their anchoring around the nucleus and not directly because of Vps13b function loss. In spite of the impaired actin remodeling seen in Supplemental Figure S4, Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids do not display impaired polymerization of microtubules during manchette formation. Scale bar, 10 µm
18_2019_3192_MOESM8_ESM.pdf (552 kb)
Supplementary material 8 (PDF 551 kb) Supplemental Figure 8. Loss of Vps13b detection in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids. Using antibody Vps13baa64−412 to stain Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 isolated spermatids did not reveal any perinuclear staining but a faint background staining of the cell body remained. Using antibody Vps13baa103−121, no signal was detectable in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids. This result suggests that, at least, Chorein domain-containing isoforms of Vps13b are lost in Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 spermatids
18_2019_3192_MOESM9_ESM.pdf (584 kb)
Supplementary material 9 (PDF 583 kb) Supplemental Figure 9. Vps13b and its interactor Rab6 locate to the acrosome. Representative images of wild-type spermatids in Golgi, cap, acrosome and maturation phases stained against Vps13b (A, antibody Vps13baa64−412) or Rab6 (B) and counterstained with PNA-FITC and DAPI. In contrast with Figure 8, stainings were performed on testis cryosections. Images of Rab6 staining on mutant spermatids are presented in the left panel of B. Results showed that Vps13b expression was increased in early spermatids compared to spermatogonia and spermatocytes and that the protein essentially localized to the pre-acrosome in Golgi phase and to the acrosomal inner membrane in cap and acrosome phase. Rab6 located to the Golgi apparatus of all spermatogenic cells. In addition, Rab6 followed the sequential acrosomal localization displayed by Vps13b in wild-type spermatids but not in mutants. In mutant testis sections, Rab6 was not detectable at displaced PNA-positive vesicles. It was only localized to the Golgi apparatus. This difference in staining may be due to differences in fixation and blocking which may prevent accessibility of the Rab6 epitopes at proacrosomal vesicles. Scale bars, 10 µm
18_2019_3192_MOESM10_ESM.xlsx (12 kb)
Supplementary material 10 (XLSX 11 kb)

Supplementary material 11 (MP4 1945 kb) Supplemental Movie 1. Recording of spermatozoa extracted from a Vps13b+/+ epididymis

Supplementary material 12 (MP4 2912 kb) Supplemental Movie 2. Recording of spermatozoa extracted from a Vps13b∆Ex3/∆Ex3 epididymis


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romain Da Costa
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Morgane Bordessoules
    • 1
    • 2
  • Magali Guilleman
    • 3
  • Virginie Carmignac
    • 1
    • 4
  • Vincent Lhussiez
    • 1
  • Hortense Courot
    • 1
  • Amandine Bataille
    • 5
  • Amandine Chlémaire
    • 5
  • Céline Bruno
    • 1
    • 3
  • Patricia Fauque
    • 1
    • 3
  • Christel Thauvin
    • 1
    • 2
    • 6
  • Laurence Faivre
    • 1
    • 2
    • 7
  • Laurence Duplomb
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Inserm, UMR1231, Equipe GAD, Bâtiment B3, Université de Bourgogne Franche ComtéDijon CedexFrance
  2. 2.FHU TRANSLAD, CHU DijonDijonFrance
  3. 3.Laboratoire de Biologie de la Reproduction, Hôpital François MitterrandUniversité de BourgogneDijonFrance
  4. 4.Centre de Référence Maladies Génétique à Expression Cutanée MAGEC-Mosaique, CHU DijonDijonFrance
  5. 5.Plateforme d’Imagerie Cellulaire CellImaP/DimaCell, Inserm LNC UMR1231DijonFrance
  6. 6.Centre de Référence Déficiences Intellectuelles de Causes Rares, CHU DijonDijonFrance
  7. 7.Centre de Référence Anomalies du Développement et Syndromes Malformatifs, CHU DijonDijonFrance

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