Published 2024

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Publication details

Journal : Current Issues in Molecular Biology , vol. 46 , p. 5337–5351 , 2024

Publisher : Caister Academic Press

International Standard Numbers :
Printed : 1467-3037
Electronic : 1467-3045

Publication type : Academic article

Contributors : Skjold, Vetle; Afanasyev, Sergey; Burgerhout, Erik; Sveen, Lene; Rørvik, Kjell-Arne; Mota, Vasco Filipe Cardoso Neves; Dessen, Jens-Erik; Krasnov, Aleksei

Issue : 6

Research areas

Breeding and genetics

Farmed fish

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Sexual maturation of Atlantic salmon males is marked by dramatic endocrine changes and rapid growth of the testes, resulting in an increase in the gonad somatic index (GSI). We examined the association of gonadal growth with serum sex steroids, as well as pituitary and testicular gene expression levels, which were assessed with a DNA oligonucleotide microarray. The testes transcriptome was stable in males with a GSI < 0.08% despite the large difference between the smallest and the largest gonads. Fish with a GSI ≥ 0.23% had 7–17 times higher serum levels of five male steroids and a 2-fold increase in progesterone, without a change in cortisol and related steroids. The pituitary transcriptome showed an upregulation of the hormone-coding genes that control reproduction and behavior, and structural rearrangement was indicated by the genes involved in synaptic transmission and the differentiation of neurons. The observed changes in the abundance of testicular transcripts were caused by the regulation of transcription and/or disproportional growth, with a greater increase in the germinative compartment. As these factors could not be separated, the transcriptome results are presented as higher or lower specific activities (HSA and LSA). LSA was observed in 4268 genes, including many genes involved in various immune responses and developmental processes. LSA also included genes with roles in female reproduction, germinal cell maintenance and gonad development, responses to endocrine and neural regulation, and the biosynthesis of sex steroids. Two functional groups prevailed among HSA: structure and activity of the cilia (95 genes) and meiosis (34 genes). The puberty of A. salmon testis is marked by the predominance of spermatogenesis, which displaces other processes; masculinization; and the weakening of external regulation. Results confirmed the known roles of many genes involved in reproduction and pointed to uncharacterized genes that deserve attention as possible regulators of sexual maturation.