nanos1 is required to maintain oocyte production in adult zebrafish

Bruce W. Draper, Claire M. McCallum, Cecilia B. Moens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

119 Scopus citations


Development of the germline requires the specification and survival of primordial germ cells (PGCs) in the embryo as well as the maintenance of gamete production during the reproductive life of the adult. These processes appear to be fundamental to all Metazoans, and some components of the genetic pathway regulating germ cell development and function are evolutionarily conserved. In both vertebrates and invertebrates, nanos-related genes, which encode RNA-binding zinc finger proteins, have been shown to play essential and conserved roles during germ cell formation. In Drosophila, maternally supplied nanos is required for survival of PGCs in the embryo, while in adults, nanos is required for the continued production of oocytes by maintaining germline stem cells self-renewal. In mice and zebrafish, nanos orthologs are required for PGC survival during embryogenesis, but a role in adults has not been explored. We show here that nanos1 in zebrafish is expressed in early stage oocytes in the adult female germline. We have identified a mutation in nanos1 using a reverse genetics method and show that young female nanos mutants contain oocytes, but fail to maintain oocyte production. This progressive loss of fertility in homozygous females is not a phenotype that has been described previously in the zebrafish and underlines the value of a reverse genetics approach in this model system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)589-598
Number of pages10
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 15 2007


  • Development
  • Germline stem cells
  • Nanos
  • Oogenesis
  • Ovary
  • Primordial germ cells
  • Vasa
  • Zebrafish
  • Ziwi

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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