Table 1.

Genes required by germ cells for development *

Species with homologues (homologue names)§
Gene (common name)Fly (D)Worm (C)Frog (X)Fish (Dr)Mouse (M)OtherGene productGerm cell function
boule yesyesyesA (Axdazl), Cb, Hs (DAZ), Ma, Mm, Pt, PaRNP-type RNA binding protein with DAZ repeatsMeiosis; PGC differentiation (Hs, M, X)
aubergine yesSimilar to eIFC2 (translation initiation factor)Pole cell formation; translational regulation of osk
bruno yesyesyesHsRNP-type binding domainsTranslational regulation of osk and grk (D)
capuccino yesActin binding proteinosk & stau localisation in oocyte (D)
DEADSouth yeseIF4A-like helicaseLocalised to germ granules (X)
fragilis yesIFN inducible TM family memberConfers PGC competence (M)
germ-cell-less yesyesyesNuclear pore associated proteinTranscriptional repression (D)
gld-1 yesKH motif RNA binding proteinTranslational repression (C)
gp130 yesCytokine receptorMutant has fewer PGCs (M)
gurken yesEGFR ligandOocyte patterning and germ plasm assembly (D)
gustavus yesNovel proteinVAS localisation in oocyte
homeless yesRNA-dependent ATPaseG plasm component localisation (D)
mago nashi yesyesyesyesHsNovel proteinGerm plasm assembly (C, D)
mes-2 yesSimilar to E(z) (D polycomb gene)Transcriptional repression (C)
mes-3 yesNovel proteinMES-2 and MES-6 localisation (C)
mes-4 yesNovel proteinGC survival (C)
mes-6 yesNovel proteinTranscriptional repression, MES-2 localisation (C)
mex-1 yesZinc finger proteinPIE-1 and P granule segregation (C)
mex-3 yesKN domain RNA binding proteinBlastomere identity; mutation leads to ectopic GCs (C)
mtlrRNA yesyesMitochondrial ribosomal RNALocalisation of mitochondrial ribosomes on P granules (D)
nanos yesyesyesyesyesCh, Dv, Gd, H (Cnnos1, Cnnos2), Hr (Hrnos), S, MdCCHC Zn-finger proteinTranslational and transcriptional repression (C, Ch, D, Dv, Md)
orb yesRNA binding proteinosk localisation (D)
oskar yesDvNovel proteinGerm plasm assembly (D)
par-1 yesyesyesHs, RSer/Thr kinaseOSK phosphorylation, germ plasm assembly (C, D)
pgc-1 yesNon-coding RNAPC migration (D)
pie-1 yesZinc finger proteinTranscriptional repression (C)
pog yesPlant homeodomain motifsPGC proliferation (M)
pumilio yesyesyesHs (CUG-BP) SNovel RNA binding domainsTranslational repression (D, C)
spire yesNovel proteinosk and stau localisation in oocyte (D)
staufen yesHsdsRNA binding proteinGerm plasm assembly (D)
stella yesNovel proteinConfers PGC competence (M)
tropomysin II yesActin binding proteinosk and stau localisation in oocyte (D)
tudor yesHs (tudor domain protein)Novel `tudor domain' repeatsGerm plasm assembly; nos localisation (D)
valois yesNovel proteinGerm plasm assembly (D)
vasa yesyesyesyesyes ** DEAD-box RNA helicase; eIF4A (translation initiation factor) homologyGerm plasm assembly; translational regulation (D)
Xlsirts yesHs (HumXist)Non-coding RNAmRNA localisation to vegetal cortex (X)
Xpat yesNovel proteinLocalised to germ plasm (X)
  • * Data compiled from 143 references, which are available in the online version of this table (see Table S1 at

  • Usually the name of the first gene in the family to be identified.

  • Abbreviations for species names are as follows: A, Ambystoma mexicanum (axolotl); Aa, Aurelia aurita (moon jellyfish); Ad, Acropora digitifera (staghorn coral); B, Bombyx mori (silkworm); C, Caenorhabditis elegans (nematode); Ca, Carassius auratus (goldfish); Cb, Cebus sp. (capuchin monkey); Cc, Cyprinus carpio (carp); Ch, Chironomous samoensis (midge); Ci, Ciona intestinalis (ascidian); Cp, Cynops pyrrhogaster (newt); Cr, Craspedacusta sowerbyi (freshwater jellyfish); Cs, Ciona savignyi (ascidian); D, Drosophila melanogaster (fruit fly); Dd, Dugesia dorotocephala (flatworm); Dj, Dugesia japonica (flatworm); Dr, Danio rerio (zebrafish); Dv, Drosophila virilis (fruit fly); E, Ephydatia fluviatilis (sponge); Ec, Equus caballus (horse); G, Gallus gallus (chicken); Gd, Gryllus domesticus (cricket); H, Hydra magnipapillata (hydra); He, Hydractinia echinata (colonial hydroid); Hr, Helobdella robusta (leech); Hs, Homo sapiens (human); Hy, Hyphessobrycon ecuadoriensis (Columbian tetra); L, Leucopsarion petersii (ice goby); M, Mus musculus (mouse); Ma, Macaca fascicularis (crab-eating macaque); Md, Musca domestica (housefly); Mf, Melanotaenia fluviatilis (rainbowfish); Mm, Macaca mulatta (rhesus monkey); O, Oryzias latipes (medaka); Om, Oncorhyncus mykiss (rainbow trout); On, Oreochromis niloticus (Ukuobu); P, Pantodon buchholzi (butterfly fish); Pa, Papio anubis (baboon); Pt, Pan troglodytes (chimp); R, Rattus norvegicus (rat); S, Schistocerca americana (grasshopper); Sa, Sanderia malayaensis (Malaysian jellyfish); Sg, Schistocerca gregaria (locust); Sm, Schmidtea mediterranea (flatworm); Sp, Sparus aurata (gilthead bream); Sq, Squalus acanthias (spiny dogfish); T, Tetranychus urticae (spider mite); Tf, Tima formosa (elegant jellyfish); X, Xenopus laevis (clawed frog).

  • § Note that many homologues are not given new names, but may be called `x-like gene', where `x' is the name of the first gene in the family to be identified.

  • Species for which functional information is available are in parentheses.

  • ** Aa, Ad, B, Ca, Cc, Ci (CiDEAD1b), Cp, Cr, Cs (CsDEAD1a, CsDEAD1b), Dd (Plvas1), Dj (Djvlga, Djvlgb), Dv, E (PoVAS1), Ec, G (Cvh), H (CnVAS1, CnVAS2), He, Hs, Hy, L, Mf, O (olvas), Om, On, P, R (RVLG), Sa, Sg, Sm, Sp, Sq, T, Tf.