Main content area

Japanese medaka as a model for studying the relaxin family genes involved in neuroendocrine regulation: Insights from the expression of fish-specific rln3 and insl5 and rxfp3/4-type receptor paralogues

Alnafea, Hend, Vahkal, Brett, Zelmer, C. Kellie, Yegorov, Sergey, Bogerd, Jan, Good, Sara V.
Molecular and cellular endocrinology 2019 v.487 pp. 2-11
Danio rerio, Oryzias latipes, adults, animal tissues, brain, embryo (animal), embryogenesis, gene expression, genes, in situ hybridization, intestines, ligands, mammals, models, peptides, receptors, relaxin
The goal of this paper is to establish Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) as a model for relaxin family peptide research, particularly for studying the functions of RLN3 and INSL5, hormones playing roles in neuroendocrine regulation. Medaka, like other teleosts, retained duplicate copies of rln3, insl5 and their rxfp3/4-type receptors following fish-specific whole genome duplication (WGD) and paralogous copies of these genes may have sub-functionalised providing an intuitive model for teasing apart the pleiotropic roles of the corresponding genes in mammals. To this end, we provide experimental evidence for the expression of the relaxin family genes in medaka that had previously only been identified in-silico, confirm the gene structure of five of the ligand genes, characterise gene expression across multiple tissues and during embryonic development, perform in situ hybridization with anti-sense insl5a on embryos and in adult brain and intestinal samples, and compare these results to the data available in zebrafish. We find broad similarities but also some differences in the expression of relaxin family genes in zebrafish versus medaka, and find support for the hypothesis that the rln3a/rln3b and insl5a/insl5b paralogues have been subfunctionalized. Given that medaka has a suite of relaxin family genes more similar to other teleosts, and has retained the gene for rxfp4 (which is lost in zebrafish), our results suggest that O. latipes may be a good model for delineating the ancestral function of the relaxin family genes involved in neuroendocrine regulation.