Mechanistic insights into induction of vitellogenin gene expression by estrogens in Sydney rock oysters, Saccostrea glomerata

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review

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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)146-158
Journal / PublicationAquatic Toxicology
Volume174
Early online date2 Mar 2016
Publication statusPublished - May 2016

Abstract

Marine molluscs, such as oysters, respond to estrogenic compounds with the induction of the egg yolk protein precursor, vitellogenin (Vtg), availing a biomarker for estrogenic pollution. Despite this application, the precise molecular mechanism through which estrogens exert their action to induce molluscan vitellogenesis is unknown. As a first step to address this question, we cloned a gene encoding Vtg from the Sydney rock oyster Saccostrea glomerata (sgVtg). Using primers designed from a partial sgVtg cDNA sequence available in Genbank, a full-length sgVtg cDNA of 8498 bp was obtained by 5'- and 3'-RACE. The open reading frame (ORF) of sgVtg was determined to be 7980 bp, which is substantially longer than the orthologs of other oyster species. Its deduced protein sequence shares the highest homology at the N- and C-terminal regions with other molluscan Vtgs. The full-length genomic DNA sequence of sgVtg was obtained by genomic PCR and genome walking targeting the gene body and flanking regions, respectively. The genomic sequence spans 20 kb and consists of 30 exons and 29 introns. Computer analysis identified three closely spaced half-estrogen responsive elements (EREs) in the promoter region and a 210-bp CpG island 62 bp downstream of the transcription start site. Upregulation of sgVtg mRNA expression was observed in the ovaries following in vitro (explants) and in vivo (tank) exposure to 17β-estradiol (E2). Notably, treatment with an estrogen receptor (ER) antagonist in vitro abolished the upregulation, suggesting a requirement for an estrogen-dependent receptor for transcriptional activation. DNA methylation of the 5' CpG island was analysed using bisulfite genomic sequencing of the in vivo exposed ovaries. The CpG island was found to be hypomethylated (with 0-3% methylcytosines) in both control and E2-exposed oysters. However, no significant differential methylation or any correlation between methylation and sgVtg expression levels was observed. Overall, the results support the possible involvement of an ERE-containing promoter and an estrogen-activated receptor in estrogen signalling in marine molluscs.

Research Area(s)

  • Estrogen receptor, Estrogen responsive element, Gene expression, Molluscs, Sydney rock oyster, Vitellogenin

Citation Format(s)

Mechanistic insights into induction of vitellogenin gene expression by estrogens in Sydney rock oysters, Saccostrea glomerata. / Tran, Thi Kim Anh; MacFarlane, Geoff R.; Kong, Richard Yuen Chong; O'Connor, Wayne A.; Yu, Richard Man Kit.

In: Aquatic Toxicology, Vol. 174, 05.2016, p. 146-158.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalNot applicablepeer-review