Journal Article

The Old World Monkey <i>DAZ</i> (Deleted in Azoospermia) Gene Yields Insights into the Evolution of the <i>DAZ</i> Gene Cluster on the Human Y Chromosome

Jörg Gromoll, Gerhard F. Weinbauer, Helen Skaletsky, Stefan Schlatt, Massimilano Rocchietti-March, David C. Page and Eberhard Nieschlag

in Human Molecular Genetics

Volume 8, issue 11, pages 2017-2024
Published in print October 1999 | ISSN: 0964-6906
Published online October 1999 | e-ISSN: 1460-2083 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/hmg/8.11.2017
The Old World Monkey DAZ (Deleted in Azoospermia) Gene Yields Insights into the Evolution of the DAZ Gene Cluster on the Human Y Chromosome

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The DAZ gene cluster on the human Y chromosome is a candidate for the Azoospermia Factor (AZFc). According to the current evolutionary model, the DAZ cluster derived from the autosomal homolog DAZL1 through duplications and rearrangements and is confined to Old World monkeys, apes and humans. To study functional and evolutionary aspects ofthis gene family we have isolated from a cynomolgus (Old World) monkey testis cDNA library the Y chromosomal cynDAZ and the autosomal cynDAZL1 cDNA. cynDAZL1 contains one DAZ repeat and displays high homology to human DAZL1. cynDAZ comprises 11 repeats, each consisting of exons 7 and 8, whereas the human DAZcDNA repeat units contain predominantly exon 7. Genomic studies revealed the same amplification events of a 2.4 kb genomic unit encompassing exons 7 and 8 in both species, indicating that after splitting of the two lineages, in the human mainly exon 8 was converted to a pseudoexon by splice site mutations. The structural features of cynDAZreveal a more detailed model for the sequence of events leading to the present form of human DAZ. Thus, in a monkey species DAZis present in a form more ancestral than that of the human. Studies on the immunolocalization of cynDAZDAZLI in cynomolgus monkey testis revealed a biphasic expression pattern with proteins being detectable in A-pale to B-spermatogonia, late spermatocytes and spermatids, but not in early spermatocytes and late spermatids. In contrast, in the marmoset monkey, an animal lacking DAZ, DAZL1 protein was only expressed in late spermatocytes and early spermatids. These findings point to an additional function of cynDAZcynDAZL1 during spermato-genesis in the Old World monkey not needed in the New World monkey.

Journal Article.  5884 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Genetics and Genomics

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