Author(s): Xu H, Li Z, Li M, Wang L, Hong Y
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Abstract BACKGROUND: The DAZ family genes boule, daz and dazl encode RNA binding proteins essential for fertility of diverse animals including human. dazl has bisexual expression in both mitotic and meiotic germ cells, whereas daz has male premeiotic expression, and boule is largely a unisexual meiotic regulator. Although boule has been proposed as the ancestor for dazl/daz by gene duplication, it has been identified only in invertebrates and mammals. It has, however, remained unclear when and how the DAZ family has evolved in vertebrates. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: This study was aimed at identifying and characterizing the DAZ family genes in fish as the basal vertebrate. We show that boule and dazl coexist in medaka and stickleback. Similar to the medaka dazl (Odazl), the medaka boule (Obol) is maternally supplied and segregates with primordial germ cells. Surprisingly, Obol is expressed in adult germ cells at pre-meiotic and meiotic stages of spermatogenesis and oogenesis. However, the maximal meiotic Obol expression in spermatocytes contrasts with the predominant pre-meiotic Odazl expression in spermatogonia, and the diffuse cytoplasmic Obol distribution in early oocytes contrasts with the Odazl concentration in the Balbinani's body. CONCLUSIONS: The identification of fish boule and dazl genes provides direct evidence for the early gene duplication during vertebrate evolution. Our finding that Obol exhibits bisexual expression in both embryonic and adult germ cells considerably extends the diversity of boule expression patterns and offers a new insight into the evolutions of DAZ family members, expression patterns and functions in animal fertility.
This article was published in PLoS One
and referenced in Biological Systems: Open Access