College of Animal Science, Southwest University, Rongchang, Chongqing, China 402460; Beef Cattle Engineering and Technology Research Center of Chongqing, Southwest University, Rongchang, Chongqing, China 402460. Electronic address: [Email]
Domestic yaks (Bos grunniens) and domestic Taurus cattle (Bos taurus) are closely related. An interesting phenomenon in interspecific crossings is male sterility in the F1 hybrid (yattle) and F2 backcross, with no late meiotic cells or spermatids in the seminiferous tubules. The mammalian Y chromosome is crucial for spermatogenesis and male fertility. This study investigated the copy number variations and mRNA of Y-transitional region genes TSPY2 (testis specific protein, Y-linked 2 and testis-specific Y-encoded protein 3-like) and PRAMEY (preferentially expressed antigen in melanoma, Y-linked), and Y-ampliconic region genes TSPY (testis-specific Y-encoded protein 1-like), ZNF280BY (zinc finger protein 280B, Y-linked) and HSFY (heat-shock transcription factor, Y-linked) in mature testes from Taurus cattle, yaks, and yattle. Phylogenetic trees divided 33 copies of TSPY into major 2 types (TSPY-T1 and TSPY-T2), 19 copies of TSPY2 into 2 types (TSPY2-T1 and T2), and 8 copies of PRAMEY into 4 types (PRAMEY-T1 to T4). Searching by the Basic Local Alignment Search Tool of the TSPY2 coding sequences in GenBank revealed that TSPY2 was conserved in Bovidae. The TSPY2-T2 sequences were absent, whereas PRAMEY-T2 and PRAMEY-T4 were ampliﬁed on the yak Y chromosome. The average copy numbers of TSPY-T2 and ZNF280BY were significantly different between cattle and yaks. The TSPY-T2, TSPY2, PRAMEY, ZNF280BY, and HSFY genes were uniquely or predominantly expressed in testes. Reverse-transcription quantitative PCR showed that the TSPY-T2, PRAMEY-T2, HSFY, ZNF280BY, protamine 1 (PRM1), and protamine 2 (PRM2) genes were almost not expressed in yattle. The PRM1 and PRM2 genes are used as positive markers for spermatozoa. Thus, our results showed that the genomic structure of the Y-transitional and Y-ampliconic region differed between Taurus cattle and yaks. Dysregulated expression of Y-ampliconic region genes TSPY-T2, HSPY, ZNF280BY, and Y-transitional region gene PRAMEY-T2 may be associated with hybrid male sterility in yattle.