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Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(10):1226-1235. doi:10.7150/ijbs.11536


DAZ Family Proteins, Key Players for Germ Cell Development

Xia-Fei Fu1,2,#, Shun-Feng Cheng1,3,#, Lin-Qing Wang1,3, Shen Yin1,3, Massimo De Felici4,✉, Wei Shen1,3,✉

1. Institute of Reproductive Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao 266109, China
2. College of Life Sciences, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao 266109, China
3. Key Laboratory of Animal Reproduction and Germplasm Enhancement in Universities of Shandong, College of Animal Science and Technology, Qingdao Agricultural University, Qingdao 266109, China
4. Department of Biomedicine and Prevention, University of Rome 'Tor Vergata', Rome 00133, Italy
# Co-first authors


DAZ family proteins are found almost exclusively in germ cells in distant animal species. Deletion or mutations of their encoding genes usually severely impair either oogenesis or spermatogenesis or both. The family includes Boule (or Boll), Dazl (or Dazla) and DAZ genes. Boule and Dazl are situated on autosomes while DAZ, exclusive of higher primates, is located on the Y chromosome. Deletion of DAZ gene is the most common causes of infertility in humans. These genes, encoding for RNA binding proteins, contain a highly conserved RNA recognition motif and at least one DAZ repeat encoding for a 24 amino acids sequence able to bind other mRNA binding proteins. Basically, Daz family proteins function as adaptors for target mRNA transport and activators of their translation. In some invertebrate species, BOULE protein play a pivotal role in germline specification and a conserved regulatory role in meiosis. Depending on the species, DAZL is expressed in primordial germ cells (PGCs) and/or pre-meiotic and meiotic germ cells of both sexes. Daz is found in fetal gonocytes, spermatogonia and spermatocytes of adult testes. Here we discuss DAZ family genes in a phylogenic perspective, focusing on the common and distinct features of these genes, and their pivotal roles during gametogenesis evolved during evolution.

Keywords: Dazl, DAZ, Boule, germ cell, meiosis

This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY-NC) License. See for full terms and conditions.
How to cite this article:
Fu XF, Cheng SF, Wang LQ, Yin S, De Felici M, Shen W. DAZ Family Proteins, Key Players for Germ Cell Development. Int J Biol Sci 2015; 11(10):1226-1235. doi:10.7150/ijbs.11536. Available from