ZFIN ID: ZDB-PUB-170627-8
Dynamic and differential expression of the gonadal aromatase during the process of sexual differentiation in a novel transgenic cyp19a1a-eGFP zebrafish line
Hinfray, N., Sohm, F., Caulier, M., Chadili, E., Piccini, B., Torchy, C., Porcher, J.M., Guiguen, Y., Brion, F.
Date: 2017
Source: General and comparative endocrinology   261: 179-189 (Journal)
Registered Authors: Sohm, Frédéric
Keywords: Gonadal aromatase, Sexual differentiation, Transgenic zebrafish
MeSH Terms:
  • Animals
  • Animals, Genetically Modified
  • Aromatase/genetics*
  • Aromatase/metabolism
  • Embryo, Nonmammalian
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Enzymologic
  • Germ Cells/metabolism
  • Germ Cells/physiology
  • Gonads/metabolism*
  • Gonads/physiology
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins/genetics
  • Male
  • Ovary/embryology
  • Ovary/metabolism
  • Sex Differentiation/genetics*
  • Sex Differentiation/physiology
  • Testis/embryology
  • Testis/metabolism
  • Zebrafish*/embryology
  • Zebrafish*/genetics
  • Zebrafish Proteins/genetics*
  • Zebrafish Proteins/metabolism
PubMed: 28648994 Full text @ Gen. Comp. Endocrinol.
In zebrafish, there exists a clear need for new tools to study sex differentiation dynamic and its perturbation by endocrine disrupting chemicals. In this context, we developed and characterized a novel transgenic zebrafish line expressing green fluorescent protein (GFP) under the control of the zebrafish cyp19a1a (gonadal aromatase) promoter. In most gonochoristic fish species including zebrafish, cyp19a1a, the enzyme responsible for the synthesis of estrogens, has been shown to play a critical role in the processes of reproduction and sexual differentiation. This novel cyp19a1a-eGFP transgenic line allowed a deeper characterization of expression and localization of cyp19a1a gene in zebrafish gonads both at the adult stage and during development. At the adult stage, GFP expression was higher in ovaries than in testis. We showed a perfect co-expression of GFP and endogenous Cyp19a1a protein in gonads that was mainly localized in the cytoplasm of peri-follicular cells in the ovary and of Leydig and germ cells in the testis. During development, GFP was expressed in all immature gonads of 20 dpf-old zebrafish. Then, GFP expression increased in early differentiated female at 30 and 35 dpf to reach a high GFP intensity in well-differentiated ovaries at 40 dpf. On the contrary, males consistently displayed low GFP expression as compared to female whatever their stage of development, resulting in a clear dimorphic expression between both sexes. Interestingly, fish that undergoes ovary-to-testis transition (35 and 40 dpf) presented GFP levels similar to males or intermediate between females and males. In this transgenic line our results confirm that cyp19a1a is expressed early during development, before the histological differentiation of the gonads, and that the down-regulation of cyp19a1a expression is likely responsible for the testicular differentiation. Moreover, we show that although cyp19a1a expression exhibits a clear dimorphic expression pattern in gonads during sexual differentiation, its expression persists whatever the sex suggesting that estradiol synthesis is important for gonadal development of both sexes. Monitoring the expression of GFP in control and exposed-fish will help determine the sensitivity of this transgenic line to EDCs and to refine mechanistic based-assays for the study of EDCs. In fine, this transgenic zebrafish line will be a useful tool to study physiological processes such as reproduction and sexual differentiation, and their perturbations by EDCs.