File photo shows the research team led by Professor Xu Yujun of Nanjing Medical University. (Photo provided by Nanjing Medical University)
Chinese scientists have discovered a certain protein that is essential in mammals' sperm development.
The research team, led by Professor Xu Yujun of Nanjing Medical University in eastern China's Jiangsu Province, found that the DAZL protein is a master translational regulator for spermatogenesis.
A lack of this protein can lead to male sterility, according to researchers.
Dr. Li Haixin, a member of the research team, introduced that they had removed the DAZL protein of mice at three different development stages respectively -- on the 14.5th day of the embryonic period and 3.5 days and 14 days after birth.
The results were concordant-- the removal of DAZL in the different phases of mice development all led to sperm development block and complete male sterility, Li said.
DAZL is involved in the entire process of sperm development. If lacking it, the special proteins required cannot be met, and mature sperm would not be produced, said Xu, adding that the new discovery offers a theoretical foundation for future clinical treatment of male sterility.
The research result was published in the National Science Review, China's leading English language science journal.