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Molecular characterization of vasa homologue in marbled goby, Oxyeleotris marmorata: Transcription and localization analysis during gametogenesis and embryogenesis

Liu, Wei, Zhang, Hong, Xiang, Yangxi, Jia, Kuntong, Luo, Mingfei, Yi, Meisheng
Comparative biochemistry and physiology 2019 v.229 pp. 42-50
Boleophthalmus, Oxyeleotris marmorata, adenosinetriphosphatase, amino acids, complementary DNA, developmental stages, embryogenesis, fish, fluorescence in situ hybridization, gametogenesis, mammals, messenger RNA, oocytes, oogonia, phylogeny, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction, somatic cells, spermatids, spermatocytes, spermatogonia, testes, transcription (genetics)
Identification of germ cell markers is important for investigating reproduction biology in fish. Vasa is one of the most studied germ cell markers in mammals and lower vertebrates including fish. Here, we characterized a vasa homologue from the fish marbled goby (Oxyeleotris marmorata), termed omvasa. The full length of omvasa cDNA is 2344 bp and encodes 658 amino acids, sharing high identities with Vasa homologues of other vertebrates. OmVasa protein contains 15 RG/RGG repeats at N-terminus, 2 ATPase motifs, as well as RNA unwinding and RNA binding domains at C-terminus. Phylogenetic tree showed that omVasa had the closest relationship with the Vasa homologue from the fish Boleophthalmus pectinirostris, the great blue-spotted mudskipper. qRT-PCR analysis indicated that omvasa was specifically transcribed in gonads, and the transcription level was gradually increased during oocyte development. The germ cell-specific distribution of omvasa mRNA was revealed by fluorescent in situ hybridization. In ovary, the signal of omvasa RNA displayed strong-weak-strong dynamics from oogonia over pre-vitellogenic oocytes to vitellogenic oocytes. In testis, omvasa signal was strong in spermatogonia, modest in spermatocytes but undetectable in spermatids and somatic cells. During embryogenesis, the transcription of omvasa mRNA was high at blastula stage, gradually decreased from gastrula stage and maintained at a low level in later developmental stages. Whole mount in situ hybridization indicated that omvasa mRNA was specific to primordial germ cells (PGCs). In summary, marbled goby vasa is a germ cell-specific transcript during gametogenesis, and can be used as an ideal marker for tracing PGC formation and migration, which is pivotal to germ cell manipulation in this species.