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ABSTRACT: The c-Jun N-terminal kinases (JNKs) are members of the mitogen-activated protein kinase family. Their functions in regulating animal development have been well studied in both invertebrates and vertebrates. However, it remains to be determined whether they play a role in sex determination. Here we present first evidence to show that expression of JNK1 displays distinct patterns during sex reversal of rice-field eel. Molecular cloning reveals that JNK1 is well conserved among rice-field eel and other vertebrates. Both quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction and Western blot analysis demonstrate that JNK1 is highly expressed in the ovary of the female individual and reduced to a substantial degree at the later stage of the intersex. However, when the intersex individual develops into the stage of male, expression of the JNK1 in the testis of the male individual is distinctly downregulated. Associated with the contrast JNK1 expression pattern in female and male gonads, several stem cell marker genes including Nanog, Oct-3/4, and Sox-2 were also differentially expressed in female and male germinal stem cells. Together, these results suggest it is possible that JNK1 plays an important role in sexual reversal of the rice-field eel.
Journal of Experimental Zoology Part B Molecular and Developmental Evolution 11/2009; 314(3):242-56. · 2.12 Impact Factor