BACKGROUND DDX4 is a member of DEAD box proteins, which are are putative RNA helicases and characterized by the conserved motif Asp-Glu-Ala-Asp (DEAD). They are implicated in a number of cellular processes involving alteration of RNA secondary structure such as translation initiation, nuclear and mitochondrial splicing, and ribosome and spliceosome assembly.1 Based on their distribution patterns, some members of this family are believed to be involved in embryogenesis, spermatogenesis, and cellular growth and division. DDX4 is a homolog of VASA proteins in Drosophila and several other species.2 It is specifically expressed in the germ cell lineage in both sexes and functions in germ cell development. DDX4 is a highly sensitive and specific marker for germ cells.3 Multiple transcript variants encoding different isoforms have been found for DDX4 gene.
1. Abdelhaleem, M: Clin. Biochem. 38:499-503,2005
2. Noce, T. et al: Cell Struct. Funct. 26:131-6, 2001
3. Xu, H. et al: Dev. Dyn. 233:872-82, 2005
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