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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2003 Jan 21;100(2):538-43. Epub 2003 Jan 2.

Human Pumilio-2 is expressed in embryonic stem cells and germ cells and interacts with DAZ (Deleted in AZoospermia) and DAZ-like proteins.

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  • 1Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Sciences, Programs in Human Genetics and Cancer Genetics, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143, USA.


Early in development, a part of the embryo is set aside to become the germ cell lineage that will ultimately differentiate to form sperm and eggs and transmit genetic information to the next generation. Men with deletions encompassing the Y-chromosome DAZ genes have few or no germ cells but are otherwise healthy, indicating they harbor specific defects in formation or maintenance of germ cells. A DAZ homolog, DAZL (DAZ-Like), is found in diverse organisms, including humans and is required for germ cell development in males and/or females. We identified proteins that interact with DAZ proteins to better understand their function in human germ cells. Here, we show that PUM2, a human homolog of Pumilio, a protein required to maintain germ line stem cells in Drosophila and Caenorhabditis elegans, forms a stable complex with DAZ through the same functional domain required for RNA binding, protein-protein interactions and rescue of Pumilio mutations in flies. We also show that PUM2 is expressed predominantly in human embryonic stem cells and germ cells and colocalizes with DAZ and DAZL in germ cells. These data implicate PUM2 as a component of conserved cellular machinery that may be required for germ cell development.

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