Brain aromatase (cyp19a1b) and gonadotropin releasing hormone (gnrh2 and gnrh3) expression during reproductive development and sex change in black sea bass (Centropristis striata)


Teleost fish exhibit diverse reproductive strategies, and some species are capable of changing sex. The influence of many endocrine factors, such as gonadal steroids and neuropeptides, has been studied in relation to sex change, but comparatively less research has focused on gene expression changes within the brain in temperate grouper species with non-haremic social structures. The purpose of the present study was to investigate gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) and brain aromatase (cyp19a1b) gene expression patterns during reproductive development and sex change in protogynous (female to male) black sea bass (Centropristis striata). Partial cDNA fragments for cyp19a1b and eef1a (a reference gene) were identified, and included with known gnrh2 and gnrh3 sequences in real time quantitative PCR. Elevated cyp19a1b expression was evident in the olfactory bulbs, telencephalon, optic tectum, and hypothalamus/midbrain region during vitellogenic growth, which may indicate changes in the brain related to neurogenesis or sexual behavior. In contrast, gnrh2 and gnrh3 expression levels were largely similar among gonadal states, and all three genes exhibited stable expression during sex change. Although sex change in black sea bass is not associated with dramatic changes in GnRH or cyp19a1b gene expression among brain regions, these genes may mediate processes at other levels, such as within individual hypothalamic nuclei, or through changes in neuron size, that warrant further research.

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Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology Part A: Molecular & Integrative Physiology



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