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EMBO J. 2005 Jul 20;24(14):2656-66. Epub 2005 Jul 7.

The DAZL family proteins are PABP-binding proteins that regulate translation in germ cells.

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  • 1MRC Human Genetics Unit, Western General Hospital, Crewe Road, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK.


DAZL proteins are germ-cell-specific RNA-binding proteins essential for gametogenesis. The precise molecular role of these proteins in germ-cell development remains enigmatic; however, they appear to function in the cytoplasm. In order to directly address the function of vertebrate DAZL proteins, we have used Xenopus laevis oocytes as a model system. Here we demonstrate that members of this family, including Xdazl, mouse Dazl, human DAZL, human DAZ and human BOULE, have the ability to stimulate translation and function at the level of translation initiation. We show that DAZL proteins interact with poly(A)-binding proteins (PABPs), which are critical for the initiation of translation. Mapping and tethered function experiments suggest that these interactions are physiologically important. This leads to an attractive hypothesis whereby DAZL proteins activate translationally silent mRNAs during germ cell development through the direct recruitment of PABPs.

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