DAZL is a master translational regulator of murine spermatogenesis
Expression of DAZ-like (DAZL) is a hallmark of vertebrate germ cells and essential for embryonic germ cell development and differentiation, yet gametogenic function of DAZL has not been fully characterized with most of its in vivo direct targets 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 (SSCs), meiotic arrest and spermatid arrest respectively. Using the genome-wide HITS-CLIP and mass spectrometry approach, we found that DAZL bound to a large number of testicular mRNA transcripts (at least 3008) at 3′ UnTranslated Region (3′ UTR) and interacted with translation proteins including PABP. In the absence of DAZL, polysome-associated target transcripts, but not their total transcripts were significantly decreased, resulting in drastic reduction of an array of spermatogenic proteins and thus developmental arrest. Thus, DAZL is a master translational regulator essential for spermatogenesis.
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