Dimorphic expression of tryptophan hydroxylase in the brain of XX and XY Nile tilapia during early development.

Department of Animal Sciences, School of Life Sciences-Centre of Advanced Study, University of Hyderabad, P.O. Central University, Hyderabad 500046, Andhra Pradesh, India.
General and Comparative Endocrinology (Impact Factor: 2.82). 11/2009; 166(2):320-9. DOI: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2009.11.009
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Serotonin (5-HT) is well known for modulating the release of GnRH and gonadotropin in teleosts. Reports on increased female:male ratio after the blockade of 5-HT biosynthesis proposed a role for 5-HT in brain sex differentiation. Two types of tryptophan hydroxylase (Tph), rate-limiting enzyme in the biosynthesis of 5-HT were cloned from vertebrates. In the present study, we cloned Tph from brain and evaluated its importance during early development of XX and XY Nile tilapia. Tph cloned from tilapia brain is 1888 bp in length and it encodes predicted protein of 462 amino acid residues. Tph activity of tilapia was confirmed by demonstrating the conversion of L-tryptophan to 5-hydroxy tryptophan by the recombinant protein after transient transfection of this cDNA clone in COS-7 cells. Northern blot identified single transcript around 2kb in male brain. Tissue distribution of Tph revealed high abundance in brain, kidney, liver and testis. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR revealed exclusive expression of Tph in the male brain from 5 to 20 days post hatch (dph) while in the female brain, it was from 25 dph. These results were authenticated by localization of Tph transcripts in olfactory bulb-telencephalon region of 11 dph male brain using in situ hybridization. Tph immunoreactivity (-ir) was also evident in the nucleus preopticus-periventricularis area of male brain as early as 12 dph. However, Tph-ir was observed in several regions of both male and female brain without any distinction from 30 dph. Dimorphic expression pattern of Tph during early brain development around the critical period (7-21 dph) of gonadal sex determination and differentiation may implicate a role for Tph in brain sex differentiation of tilapia.

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