Congenital bilateral absence of the vas deferens (CBAVD) is a cause of male sterility mostly resulting from mutations in the cystic fibrosis transmembrane regulator (CFTR) gene. The most common defect is the 5T variant at the branch/acceptor site of intron 8, which induces high levels of exon 9 skipping leading to non-functional protein. However, this 5T variant has incomplete penetrance and variable expressivity, suggesting that some other regulatory factors may modulate the splicing of exon 9. To identify such factors, we report here the genetic analysis of a polymorphic locus, M470V, located in exon 10 of the CFTR gene in 60 patients with CBAVD, compared to a normal control population. The statistical analysis showed strong linkage disequilibrium between the 5T allele and the V allele of the M470V polymorphism in the CBAVD population, but not in the normal population. The V allele in a gene carrying 5T could, however, contribute to lowering the level of normal transcripts, as already suggested by in vitro transcriptional studies. These genetic findings, together with previous studies, suggest involvement of the M470V variant in the modulation of the splicing of exon 9 of the CFTR gene.
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