DAZL is a master translational regulator of murine spermatogenesis

Haixin Li, Zhuqing Liang, Jian Yang, Dan Wang, Hanben Wang, Mengyi Zhu, Baobao Geng, Eugene Yujun Xu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Scopus citations


Expression of DAZ-like (DAZL) is a hallmark of vertebrate germ cells, and is essential for embryonic germ cell development and differentiation, yet the gametogenic function of DAZL has not been fully characterized and most of its in vivo direct targets remain unknown. We showed that postnatal stage-specific deletion of Dazl in mouse germ cells did not affect female fertility, but caused complete male sterility with gradual loss of spermatogonial stem cells, meiotic arrest and spermatid arrest. Using the genome-wide high-throughput sequencing of RNAs isolated by cross-linking immunoprecipitation and mass spectrometry approach, we found that DAZL bound to a large number of testicular mRNA transcripts (at least 3008) at the 3′-untranslated region and interacted with translation proteins including poly(A) binding protein. In the absence of DAZL, polysome-associated target transcripts, but not their total transcripts, were significantly decreased, resulting in a drastic reduction of an array of spermatogenic proteins and thus developmental arrest. Thus, DAZL is a master translational regulator essential for spermatogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)455-468
Number of pages14
JournalNational Science Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1 2019


  • CLIPs
  • DAZ
  • RNA binding proteins
  • infertility
  • translational regulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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