DOI: 10.1002/jgm.3583 ISSN:

A variant in sperm‐specific glycolytic enzyme enolase 4 (ENO4) causes human male infertility

Shoaib Nawaz, Shabir Hussain, Muhammad Bilal, Najeeb Syed, Khurram Liaqat, Imran Ullah, Ammira Al‐Shabeeb Akil, Khalid A. Fakhro, Wasim Ahmad
  • Genetics (clinical)
  • Drug Discovery
  • Genetics
  • Molecular Biology
  • Molecular Medicine



Although defects in sperm morphology and physiology lead to male infertility, in many instances, the exact disruption of molecular pathways in a given patient is often unknown. The glycolytic pathway is an essential process to supply energy in sperm cell motility. Enolase 4 (ENO4) is crucial for the glycolytic process, which provides the energy for sperm cells in motility. ENO4 is located in the sperm principal piece and is essential for the motility and organization of the sperm flagellum. In the present study, we characterized a family with asthenozoospermia and abnormal sperm morphology as a result of a variant in the enolase 4 (ENO4) gene.


Computer‐assisted semen analysis, papanicolaou smear staining and scanning electron microscopy were used to examine sperm motility and morphology for semen analysis in patients. For genetic analysis, whole‐exome sequencing followed by Sanger sequencing was performed.


Two brothers in a consanguineous family were being clinically investigated for sperm motility and morphology issues. Genetic analysis by whole‐exome sequencing revealed a homozygous variant [c.293A>G, p.(Lys98Arg)] in the ENO4 gene that segregated with infertility in the family, shared by affected but not controls.


In view of the association of asthenozoospermia and abnormal sperm morphology in Eno4 knockout mice, we consider this to be the first report describing the involvement of ENO4 gene in human male infertility. We also explore the possible involvement of another variant in explaining other phenotypic features in this family.

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