Kisspeptins encoded by the kiss1 and kiss2 genes play an important role in reproduction through the stimulation of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) secretion by activating their receptors (KissR1 EU047918 and KissR2 EU047917). To understand the mechanism through which temperature affects reproduction, we examined kiss1 and kiss2 and their respective receptor (kissr1 and kissr2) gene expression in the brain of male zebrafish exposed to a low temperature (15°C), normal temperature (27°C), and high temperature (35°C) for 7-days. kiss1 mRNA levels in the brain were significantly increased (2.9-fold) in the low temperature compared to the control (27°C), while no noticeable change was observed in the high temperature conditions. Similarly, kissr1 mRNA levels were significantly increased (1.5-2.2-folds) in the low temperature conditions in the habenula, the nucleus of the medial longitudinal fascicle, oculomotor nucleus, and the interpeduncular nucleus. kiss2 mRNA levels were significantly decreased (0.5-fold) in the low and high temperature conditions, concomitant with kissr2 mRNA levels (0.5-fold) in the caudal zone of the periventricular hypothalamus and the posterior tuberal nucleus. gnrh3 but not gnrh2 mRNA levels were also decreased (0.5-fold) in the low and high temperature conditions. These findings suggest that while the kiss1/kissr1 system is sensitive to low temperature, the kiss2/kissr2 system is sensitive to both extremes of temperature, which leads to failure in reproduction.
The bactericidal/permeability-increasing (BPI) fold-containing (BPIF) superfamily of genes expressed in the brain are purportedly involved in modulating brain function in response to stress, such as inflammation. Kisspeptin, encoded by kiss, is affected by inflammation in the brain; therefore, BPIF family genes might be involved in the modulation of kisspeptin in the brain. In this study, we investigated the expression of BPIF family C, like (bpifcl) in zebrafish brain and its involvement in kiss2 regulation. The identified, full-length sequence of a bpifcl isoform expressed in the zebrafish brain contained the BPI fold shared by BPIF family members. bpifcl mRNA expression in female zebrafish brains was significantly higher than that in males. Exposure of female zebrafish to 11-ketotestosterone decreased bpifcl and kiss2 mRNA expression. bpifcl knockdown by bpifcl-specific small interfering RNA administration to female zebrafish brain decreased kiss2 mRNA expression. bpifcl expression was widely distributed in the brain, including in the dorsal zone of the periventricular hypothalamus (Hd). Furthermore, bpifcl was also expressed in KISS2 neurons in the Hd. These results suggest that the Bpifcl modulates kiss2 mRNA expression under the influence of testosterone in the Hd of female zebrafish.
The world's smallest fishes belong to the genus Paedocypris. These miniature fishes are endemic to an extreme habitat: the peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia, characterized by highly acidic blackwater. This threatened habitat is home to a large array of fishes, including a number of miniaturized but also developmentally truncated species. Especially the genus Paedocypris is characterized by profound, organism-wide developmental truncation, resulting in sexually mature individuals of <8 mm in length with a larval phenotype. Here, we report on evolutionary simplification in the genomes of two species of the dwarf minnow genus Paedocypris using whole-genome sequencing. The two species feature unprecedented Hox gene loss and genome reduction in association with their massive developmental truncation. We also show how other genes involved in the development of musculature, nervous system, and skeleton have been lost in Paedocypris, mirroring its highly progenetic phenotype. Further, our analyses suggest two mechanisms responsible for the genome streamlining in Paedocypris in relation to other Cypriniformes: severe intron shortening and reduced repeat content. As the first report on the genomic sequence of a vertebrate species with organism-wide developmental truncation, the results of our work enhance our understanding of genome evolution and how genotypes are translated to phenotypes. In addition, as a naturally simplified system closely related to zebrafish, Paedocypris provides novel insights into vertebrate development.
Early-life stress can cause long-term effects in the adulthood such as alterations in behaviour, brain functions and reproduction. DNA methylation is a mechanism of epigenetic change caused by early-life stress. Dexamethasone (DEX) was administered to zebrafish larvae to study its effect on reproductive dysfunction. The level of GnRH2, GnRH3, Kiss1 and Kiss2 mRNAs were measured between different doses of DEX treatment groups in adult zebrafish. Kiss1 and GnRH2 expression were increased in the 200mg/L DEX treated while Kiss2 and GnRH3 mRNA levels were up-regulated in the 2mg/L DEX-treated zebrafish. The up-regulation may be related to programming effect of DEX in the zebrafish larvae, causing overcompensation mechanism to increase the mRNA levels. Furthermore, DEX treatment caused negative impact on the development and maturation of the testes, in particular spermatogenesis. Therefore, immature gonadal development may cause positive feedback by increasing GnRH and Kiss. This indicates that DEX can alter the regulation of GnRH2, GnRH3, Kiss1 and Kiss2 in adult zebrafish, which affects maturation of gonads. Computer analysis of 1.5 kb region upstream of the 5' UTR of Kiss1, Kiss2, GnRH2 and GnRH3 promoter showed that there are putative binding sites of glucocorticoid response element and transcription factors involved in stress response. GnRH3 promoter analysed from pre-optic area, ventral telencephalon and ventral olfactory bulb showed higher methylation at CpG residues located on -1410, -1377 and -1355 between control and 2mg/L DEX-treated groups. Hence, early-life DEX treatment can alter methylation of GnRH3 gene promoter, which subsequently affects gene regulation and reproductive functions.
Despite the known importance of long-chained polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA) during development, very little is known about their utilization and biosynthesis during embryogenesis. Combining the advantages of the existence of a complete range of enzymes required for LC-PUFA biosynthesis and the well established developmental biology tools in zebrafish, we examined the expression patterns of three LC-PUFA biosynthesis genes, Elovl2-like elongase (elovl2), Elovl5-like elongase (elovl5) and fatty acyl desaturase (fad) in different zebrafish developmental stages. The presence of all three genes in the brain as early as 24 hours post fertilization (hpf) implies LC-PUFA synthesis activity in the embryonic brain. This expression eventually subsides from 72 hpf onwards, coinciding with the initiation of elovl2 and fad expression in the liver and intestine, 2 organs known to be involved in adult fish LC-PUFA biosynthesis. Collectively, these patterns strongly suggest the necessity for localized production of LC-PUFA in the brain during in early stage embryos prior to the maturation of the liver and intestine. Interestingly, we also showed a specific expression of elovl5 in the proximal convoluted tubule (PCT) of the zebrafish pronephros, suggesting a possible new role for LC-PUFA in kidney development and function.
De novo variants (DNVs) cause many genetic diseases. When DNVs are examined in the whole coding regions of genes in next-generation sequencing analyses, pathogenic DNVs often cluster in a specific region. One such region is the last exon and the last 50 bp of the penultimate exon, where truncating DNVs cause escape from nonsense-mediated mRNA decay [NMD(-) region]. Such variants can have dominant-negative or gain-of-function effects. Here, we first developed a resource of rates of truncating DNVs in NMD(-) regions under the null model of DNVs. Utilizing this resource, we performed enrichment analysis of truncating DNVs in NMD(-) regions in 346 developmental and epileptic encephalopathy (DEE) trios. We observed statistically significant enrichment of truncating DNVs in semaphorin 6B (SEMA6B) (p value: 2.8 × 10-8; exome-wide threshold: 2.5 × 10-6). The initial analysis of the 346 individuals and additional screening of 1,406 and 4,293 independent individuals affected by DEE and developmental disorders collectively identified four truncating DNVs in the SEMA6B NMD(-) region in five individuals who came from unrelated families (p value: 1.9 × 10-13) and consistently showed progressive myoclonic epilepsy. RNA analysis of lymphoblastoid cells established from an affected individual showed that the mutant allele escaped NMD, indicating stable production of the truncated protein. Importantly, heterozygous truncating variants in the NMD(+) region of SEMA6B are observed in general populations, and SEMA6B is most likely loss-of-function tolerant. Zebrafish expressing truncating variants in the NMD(-) region of SEMA6B orthologs displayed defective development of brain neurons and enhanced pentylenetetrazole-induced seizure behavior. In summary, we show that truncating DNVs in the final exon of SEMA6B cause progressive myoclonic epilepsy.
Cytokine-inducible SH2 domain-containing protein (CISH), a member of the suppressor of cytokine signaling family of negative feedback regulators, is induced by cytokines that activate STAT5 and can inhibit STAT5 signaling in vitro. However, demonstration of a definitive in vivo role for CISH during development has remained elusive. This study employed expression analysis and morpholino-mediated knockdown in zebrafish in concert with bioinformatics and biochemical approaches to investigate CISH function. Two zebrafish CISH paralogs were identified, cish.a and cish.b, with high overall conservation (43-46% identity) with their mammalian counterparts. The cish.a gene was maternally derived, with transcripts present throughout embryogenesis, and increasing at 4-5 d after fertilization, whereas cish.b expression commenced at 8 h after fertilization. Expression of cish.a was regulated by the JAK2/STAT5 pathway via conserved tetrameric STAT5 binding sites (TTCN3GAA) in its promoter. Injection of morpholinos targeting cish.a, but not cish.b or control morpholinos, resulted in enhanced embryonic erythropoiesis, myelopoiesis, and lymphopoiesis, including a 2- 3-fold increase in erythrocytic markers. This occurred concomitantly with increased activation of STAT5. This study indicates that CISH functions as a conserved in vivo target and regulator of STAT5 in the control of embryonic hematopoiesis.
Newly discovered kisspeptin (metastin), encoded by the Kiss1/KISS1 gene, is considered as a major gatekeeper of puberty through the regulation of GnRH. In the present study, we cloned a novel kisspeptin gene (kiss2) in the zebrafish Danio rerio and the medaka Oryzias latipes, which encodes a sequence of 125 and 115 amino acids, respectively, and its core sequence (FNLNPFGLRF, F-F form) is different from the previously characterized kiss1 (YNLNSFGLRY, Y-Y form). Our in silico data mining shows kiss1 and kiss2 are highly conserved across nonmammalian vertebrate species, and we have identified two putative kisspeptins in the platypus and three forms in Xenopus. In the brain of zebrafish and medaka, in situ hybridization and laser capture microdissection coupled with real-time PCR showed kiss1 mRNA expression in the ventromedial habenula and the periventricular hypothalamic nucleus. The kiss2 mRNA expression was observed in the posterior tuberal nucleus and the periventricular hypothalamic nucleus. Quantitative real-time PCR analysis during zebrafish development showed a significant increase in zebrafish kiss1, kiss2 (P < 0.002), gnrh2, and gnrh3 (P < 0.001) mRNA levels at the start of the pubertal phase and remained high in adulthood. In sexually mature female zebrafish, Kiss2 but not Kiss1 administration significantly increased FSH-beta (2.7-fold, P < 0.05) and LH-beta (8-fold, P < 0.01) mRNA levels in the pituitary. These results suggest that the habenular Kiss1 and the hypothalamic Kiss2 are potential regulators of reproduction including puberty and that Kiss2 is the predominant regulator of gonadotropin synthesis in fish.
There are serious concerns over the adverse impacts of microplastics (MPs) on living organisms. The main objective of this study was to test the effects of MPs on the total length, weight, condition factor (CF), transcriptional level of antioxidant, anti and pro-apoptotic, and neurotransmitter genes, and the histopathology of the gill, liver, brain, kidney, and intestine in the larvae of zebrafish (Danio rerio). Fish were exposed to one of three levels of pristine low-density polyethylene (LDPE) fragments (5, 50, or 500 μg/L) for 10 or 20 days. No significant changes were observed in any of the selected biomarkers across MP concentrations at days 10 or 20. The expression of casp9 (caspase 9, apoptosis-related cysteine protease), casp3a (caspase 3, apoptosis-related cysteine protease a) and cat (catalase), however, were significantly lower in the larvae sampled at day 20 than day 10. We provide evidence that virgin short-term exposure to LDPE fragments has minimal impact on biomarker responses in D. rerio larvae.
This study assessed the cholesterol lowering effect of Pediococcus acidilactici LAB4 and Lactobacillus plantarum LAB12 using adult zebrafish. Animals were fed with a high cholesterol diet (HCD) with/without LAB for seven weeks. Serum and liver cholesterol was quantified using colorimetric and dye staining methods. Expressions of npc1l1 and abca1 in the liver and intestine and appa in the brain were quantified using RT-PCR. Serum and liver cholesterol was significantly lowered in LAB4- and LAB12-fed zebrafish (≤64% and ≤71%, respectively), with reduced liver cholesterol deposition. The cholesterol lowering effect was accompanied by down-regulation of npc1l1 in intestines (≤28.7%), up-regulation of abca1 in the liver (≥30.5%) and down-regulation of appa in the brain (≤24.5%). A moderately strong positive Pearson correlation (r = 0.617, p < 0.01) was found between appa and serum cholesterol. LAB-fed zebrafish exhibited improved spatial learning and memory. LAB4 and LAB12 can be potentially used in preventing hypercholesterolaemia and Alzheimer's diseases.
Non-rod non-cone photopigments in the eyes and the brain can directly mediate non-visual functions of light in non-mammals. This was supported by our recent findings on vertebrate ancient long (VAL)-opsin photopigments encoded by the val-opsinA (valopa) and val-opsinB (valopb) genes in zebrafish. However, the physiological functions of valop isoforms remain unknown. Here, we generated valop-mutant zebrafish using CRISPR/Cas genome editing, and examined the phenotypes of loss-of-function mutants. F0 mosaic mutations and germline transmission were confirmed via targeted insertions and/or deletions in the valopa or valopb gene in F1 mutants. Based on in silico analysis, frameshift mutations converted VAL-opsin proteins to non-functional truncated forms with pre-mature stop codons. Most F1 eggs or embryos from F0 female valopa/b mutants showed either no or only partial chorion elevation, and the eggs or embryos died within 26 hour-post-fertilization. However, most F1 embryos from F0 male valopa mutant developed but hatched late compared to wild-type embryos, which hatched at 4 day-post-fertilization. Late-hatched F1 offspring included wild-type and mutants, indicating the parental effects of valop knockout. This study shows valop gene knockout affects chorion formation and embryonic hatching in the zebrafish.
CTP Synthase (CTPS) is a metabolic enzyme that is recognized as a catalyst for nucleotide, phospholipid and sialoglycoprotein production. Though the structural characteristics and regulatory mechanisms of CTPS are well-understood, little is known regarding the extent of its involvement during the early developmental stages of vertebrates. Zebrafish carries two CTPS genes, annotated as ctps1a and ctps1b. Phylogenetic analyses show that both genes had diverged from homologues in the ancestral Actinopterygii, Oreochromis niloticus. Conservation of common CTPS-catalytic regions further establishes that both proteins are likely to be functionally similar to hsaCTPS. Here, we show that ctps1a is more critical throughout the initial period of embryonic development than ctps1b. The effects of concurrent partial knockdown are dependent on ctps1a vs ctps1b dosage ratios. When these are equally attenuated, abnormal phenotypes acquired prior to the pharyngula period disappear in hatchlings (48hpf); however, if either gene is more attenuated than the other, these only become more pronounced in advanced stages. Generally, disruption to normal ctps1a or ctps1b expression levels by morpholinos culminates in the distortion of the early spinal column as well as multiple-tissue oedema. Other effects include slower growth rates, increased mortality rates and impaired structural formation of the young fish's extremities. Embryos grown in DON, a glutamine-analogue drug and CTPS antagonist, also exhibit similar characteristics, thus strengthening the validity of the morpholino-induced phenotypes observed. Together, our results demonstrate the importance of CTPS for the development of zebrafish embryos, as well as a disparity in activity and overall importance amongst isozymes.
kcnk10a has been predicted in zebrafish to be a member of the two-pore domain potassium ion (K+) channel-related K+ (TREK) channel family known as a thermoreceptor. Since reproduction is affected by temperature, Kcnk10a could be involved in the regulation of reproduction. However, expression of kcnk10a in the zebrafish brain and association with reproduction has not been identified. In this study, the full length sequence and localization of kcnk10a in the brain was investigated and gene expressions of the TREK channel family were examined to investigate association with reproduction. We initially identified the full length cDNA sequence of kcnk10a using Rapid Amplification of cDNA Ends and localization in the zebrafish brain using in situ hybridization. Furthermore, we examined the gene expression differences of kcnk2b, kcnk10a and kcnk10b mRNA between genders as well as developmental stages by real-time PCR. The deduced amino acid sequence of the identified kcnk10a mRNA contains highly conserved two pore domains and four transmembrane regions and was higher similarity to zebrafish Kcnk10b than zebrafish Kcnk2a and 2b. kcnk10a mRNA was widely distributed in the brain such as the preoptic area, hypothalamus and the midbrain. kcnk10a mRNA expression exhibited significant difference between mature male and female, and increase during puberty. Kcnk10a could be involved in the regulation of reproductive function.
RAC1 is a widely studied Rho GTPase, a class of molecules that modulate numerous cellular functions essential for normal development. RAC1 is highly conserved across species and is under strict mutational constraint. We report seven individuals with distinct de novo missense RAC1 mutations and varying degrees of developmental delay, brain malformations, and additional phenotypes. Four individuals, each harboring one of c.53G>A (p.Cys18Tyr), c.116A>G (p.Asn39Ser), c.218C>T (p.Pro73Leu), and c.470G>A (p.Cys157Tyr) variants, were microcephalic, with head circumferences between -2.5 to -5 SD. In contrast, two individuals with c.151G>A (p.Val51Met) and c.151G>C (p.Val51Leu) alleles were macrocephalic with head circumferences of +4.16 and +4.5 SD. One individual harboring a c.190T>G (p.Tyr64Asp) allele had head circumference in the normal range. Collectively, we observed an extraordinary spread of ∼10 SD of head circumferences orchestrated by distinct mutations in the same gene. In silico modeling, mouse fibroblasts spreading assays, and in vivo overexpression assays using zebrafish as a surrogate model demonstrated that the p.Cys18Tyr and p.Asn39Ser RAC1 variants function as dominant-negative alleles and result in microcephaly, reduced neuronal proliferation, and cerebellar abnormalities in vivo. Conversely, the p.Tyr64Asp substitution is constitutively active. The remaining mutations are probably weakly dominant negative or their effects are context dependent. These findings highlight the importance of RAC1 in neuronal development. Along with TRIO and HACE1, a sub-category of rare developmental disorders is emerging with RAC1 as the central player. We show that ultra-rare disorders caused by private, non-recurrent missense mutations that result in varying phenotypes are challenging to dissect, but can be delineated through focused international collaboration.
The front-end desaturases (Fads) are rate-limiting enzymes responsible for production of long-chain polyunsaturated fatty acids (LC-PUFA). The full spectrum of the transcriptional regulation of fads is still incomplete, as cloning of fads promoter is limited to a few species. Here, we described the cloning and characterisation of the zebrafish fads2 promoter. Using 5'-deletion and mutation analysis on this promoter, we identified a specific region containing the sterol regulatory element (SRE) which is responsible for the activation of the fads2 promoter. In tandem, two conserved CCAAT boxes were also present adjacent to the SRE and mutation of either of these binding sites attenuates the transcriptional activation of the fads2 promoter. An in vivo analysis employing GFP reporter gene in transiently transfected zebrafish embryos showed that this 1754 bp upstream region of the fads2 gene specifically directs GFP expression in the yolk syncytial layer (YSL) region. This indicates a role for LC-PUFA in the transport of yolk lipids through this tissue layer. In conclusion, besides identifying novel core elements for transcriptional activation in zebrafish fads2 promoter, we also reveal a potential role for fads2 or LC-PUFA in YSL during development.
The two-pore domain potassium ion (K + ) channel-related K + (TREK) channel and melatonin receptors play roles in the regulation of reproduction in zebrafish. Since reproduction is regulated by diurnal rhythms, the TREK family and melatonin receptors may exhibit diurnal rhythms in expression. In this study, we aimed to investigate diurnal variations of the gene expressions of TREK family and melatonin receptors and their associations with kisspeptin and gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH). Diurnal variations of trek1b, trek2a, trek2b, mt1, mt2, mel1a, kiss2 and gnrh3 expressions were examined by real-time PCR. For reproduction-related genes, kiss2 and gnrh3 exhibited diurnal rhythms. trek2a revealed a diurnal rhythm in the TREK family. mt2 and mel1c exhibited diurnal rhythms in the melatonin receptors. Since Trek2a regulates gnrh3 expression, the diurnal rhythm of gnrh3 expression suggests to be regulated by the diurnal rhythm of trek2a expression.
Teleosts are unique among vertebrates due to their indeterminate muscle growth, i.e., continued production of neonatal muscle fibers until death. However, the molecular mechanism(s) underlying this property is unknown. Here, we focused on the torafugu (Takifugu rubripes) myosin heavy chain gene, MYHM2528-1, which is specifically expressed in neonatal muscle fibers produced by indeterminate muscle growth. We examined the flanking region of MYHM2528-1 through an in vivo reporter assay using zebrafish (Danio rerio) and identified a 2100 bp 5'-flanking sequence that contained sufficient promoter activity to allow specific gene expression. The effects of enhanced promoter activity were observed at the outer region of the fast muscle and the dorsal edge of slow muscle in zebrafish larvae. At the juvenile stage, the promoter was specifically activated in small diameter muscle fibers scattered throughout fast muscle and in slow muscle near the septum separating slow and fast muscles. This spatio-temporal promoter activity overlapped with known myogenic zones involved in teleost indeterminate muscle growth. A deletion mutant analysis revealed that the -2100 to -600 bp 5'flanking sequence of MYHM2528-1 is essential for promoter activity. This region contains putative binding sites for several representative myogenesis-related transcription factors and nuclear factor of activated T-cell (NFAT), a transcription activator involved in regeneration of mammalian adult skeletal muscle. A significant reduction in the promoter activity of the MYHM2528-1 deletion constructs was observed in accordance with a reduction in the number of these binding sites, suggesting the involvement of specific transcription factors in indeterminate muscle growth.
Sprouty-related protein-2 (Spred-2) is a negative regulator of extracellular signal-regulated kinases (ERK) pathway, which is important for cell proliferation, neuronal differentiation, plasticity and survival. Nevertheless, its general molecular characteristics such as gene expression patterns and potential role in neural repair in the brain remain unknown. Thus, this study aimed to characterise the expression of spred-2 in the zebrafish brain. Digoxigenin-in situ hybridization showed spred-2 mRNA-expressing cells were mainly seen in the proliferative zones such as the olfactory bulb, telencephalon, optic tectum, cerebellum, and the dorsal and ventral hypothalamus, and most of which were neuronal cells. To evaluate the potential role of spred-2 in neuro-regeneration, spred-2 gene expression was examined in the dorsal telencephalon followed by mechanical-lesion. Real-time PCR showed a significant reduction of spred-2 mRNA levels in the telencephalon on 1-day till 2-days post-lesion and gradually increased to normal levels as compared with intact. Furthermore, to confirm involvement of Spred-2 signalling in the cell proliferation after brain injury, double-labelling of spred-2 in-situ hybridization with immunofluorescence of BrdU and phosphorylated-ERK1/2 (p-ERK1/2), a downstream of Spred-2 was performed. Increase of BrdU and p-ERK1/2 immunoreactive cells suggest that a decrease in spred-2 after injury might associated with activation of the ERK pathway to stimulate cell proliferation in the adult zebrafish brain. The present study demonstrates the possible role of Spred-2 signalling in cell proliferative phase during the neural repair in the injured zebrafish brain.