A Xenopus DAZ-like gene encodes an RNA component of germ plasm and is a functional homologue of Drosophila boule

Douglas W. Houston, Jian Zhang, Jean Z. Maines, Steven A. Wasserman, Mary Lou King

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

198 Scopus citations

Abstract

We have identified a localized RNA component of Xenopus germ plasm. This RNA, Xdazl (Xenopus DAZ-like), encodes a protein homologous to human DAZ (Deleted in Azoospermia), vertebrate DAZL and Drosophila Boule proteins. Human males deficient in DAZ have few or no sperm and boule mutant flies exhibit complete azoospermia and male sterility. Xdazl RNA was detected in the mitochondrial cloud and vegetal cortex of oocytes. In early embryos, the RNA was localized exclusively in the germ plasm. Consistent with other organisms, Xdazl RNA was also expressed in the spermatogonia and spermatocytes of frog testis. Proteins in the DAZ-family contain a conserved RNP domain implying an RNA-binding function. We have shown that Xdazl can function in vitro as an RNA-binding protein. To determine if the function of Xdazl in spermatogenesis was conserved, we introduced the Xdazl cDNA into boule flies. This resulted in rescue of the boule meiotic entry phenotype, including formation of spindles, phosphorylation of histone H3 and completion of meiotic cell division. Overall, these results suggest that Xdazl may be important for primordial germ cell specification in the early embryo and may play a role analogous to Boule in promoting meiotic cell division.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-180
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopment
Volume125
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jan 1998

Keywords

  • Boule
  • DAZ
  • DAZL
  • Germ plasm
  • Localized RNA
  • RNA-binding protein
  • Spermatogenesis
  • Xenopus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Cell Biology

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