Background: In vertebrates, late oogenesis is a key period during which the oocyte acquires its ability to resume meiosis (i.e. maturational competence) and to develop, once fertilized, into a normal embryo (i.e. developmental competence). However, the molecular mechanisms involved in these key biological processes are far from being fully understood. In order to identify key mechanisms conserved among teleosts and amphibians, we performed a comparative analysis using ovarian tissue sampled at successive steps of the maturational competence acquisition process in the rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and in the clawed toad (Xenopus laevis). Our study aimed at identifying common differentially expressed genes during late oogenesis in both species. Using an existing transcriptomic analysis that had previously been carried out in rainbow trout, candidate genes were selected for subsequent quantitative PCR-based comparative analysis.Results: Among the 1200 differentially expressed clones in rainbow trout, twenty-six candidate genes were selected for further analysis by real-time PCR in both species during late oogenesis. Among these genes, eight had similar expression profiles in trout and Xenopus. Six genes were down-regulated during oocyte maturation (cyp19a1, cyp17a1, tescalcin, tfr1, cmah, hsd11b3) while two genes exhibited an opposite pattern (apoc1, star). In order to document possibly conserved molecular mechanisms, four genes (star, cyp19a1, cyp17a1 and hsd11b3) were further studied due to their known or suspected role in steroidogenesis after characterization of the orthology relationships between rainbow trout and Xenopus genes. Apoc1 was also selected for further analysis because of its reported function in cholesterol transport, which may modulate steroidogenesis by regulating cholesterol bioavailability in the steroidogenic cells.Conclusions: We have successfully identified orthologous genes exhibiting conserved expression profiles in the ovarian follicle during late oogenesis in both trout and Xenopus. While some identified genes were previously uncharacterized during Xenopus late oogenesis, the nature of these genes has pointed out molecular mechanisms possibly conserved in amphibians and teleosts. It should also be stressed that in addition to the already suspected importance of steroidogenesis in maturational competence acquisition, our approach has shed light on other regulatory pathways which may be involved in maturational and developmental competence acquisitions that will require further studies. © 2010 Gohin et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd.
Gohin, M., Bobe, J., & Chesnel, F. (2010). Comparative transcriptomic analysis of follicle-enclosed oocyte maturational and developmental competence acquisition in two non-mammalian vertebrates. BMC Genomics, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1471-2164-11-18