Figla favors ovarian differentiation by antagonizing spermatogenesis in a teleosts, Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)

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Abstract

Figla (factor in the germ line, alpha), a female germ cell-specific transcription factor, had been shown to activate genetic hierarchies in oocytes. The ectopic expression of Figla was known to repress spermatogenesis-associated genes in male mice. However, the potential role of Figla in other vertebrates remains elusive. The present work was aimed to identify and characterize the functional relevance of Figla in the ovarian development of Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). Tissue distribution and ontogeny analysis revealed that tilapia Figla gene was dominantly expressed in the ovary from 30 days after hatching. Immunohistochemistry analysis also demonstrated that Figla was expressed in the cytoplasm of early primary oocytes. Intriguingly, over-expression of Figla in XY fish resulted in the disruption of spermatogenesis along with the depletion of meiotic spermatocytes and spermatids in testis. Dramatic decline of sycp3 (synaptonemal complex protein 3) and prm (protamine) expression indicates that meiotic spermatocytes and mature sperm production are impaired. Even though Sertoli cell (dmrt1) and Leydig cell (star and cyp17a1) marker genes remained unaffected, hsd3b1 expression and 11-KT production were enhanced in Figla-transgene testis. Taken together, our data suggest that fish Figla might play an essential role in the ovarian development by antagonizing spermatogenesis.

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Qiu, Y., Sun, S., Charkraborty, T., Wu, L., Sun, L., Wei, J., … Zhou, L. (2015). Figla favors ovarian differentiation by antagonizing spermatogenesis in a teleosts, Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus). PLoS ONE, 10(4). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123900

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