Expression pattern of nanos, piwil, dnd, vasa and pum genes during ontogenic development in Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus


Jin YH, Davie A & Migaud H (2019) Expression pattern of nanos, piwil, dnd, vasa and pum genes during ontogenic development in Nile tilapia Oreochromis niloticus. Gene, 688, pp. 62-70.

Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are specified by maternally provided determinants in fish. PGCs migrate then into prospective gonadal sites during early development and give rise to germ cell lineage. PGC disrupted animals do not sexually mature which has a range of commercial as well as environmental benefits. To find potential target genes for sterilisation of Nile tilapia, relative mRNA abundance patterns and tissue distribution of four nanos, two piwil, dnd1, vasa and three pum genes were investigated during ontogenic development from unfertilised eggs to newly hatched larvae and in adult tissues, respectively. The ontogenic pattern of RNA abundance revealed that all the investigated gene transcripts are maternally deposited to varying degrees, except for nanos2 which is not expressed in eggs. The ontogenic patterns of relative RNA abundance could be grouped into three categories. The first one, including nanos3, piwil1, piwil2, dnd1 and vasa, showed abundant transcript levels during early developmental stages which are then degraded during the period of maternal to zygotic transition between blastula and gastrula stages with a reduction in expression of four to five orders of magnitude by hatching stage. Another, including pum2 and pum3, showed similar patterns to the first group, but the transcript levels are reduced by only two orders of magnitude. The third group, including nanos1a, nanos1b and pum1, was characterised by a zygotic increase. nanos2 had no detectable transcripts until hatching stage. The tissue screening of nanos1a, nanos1b, pum1, pum2 and pum3 showed that they are expressed in various tissues, implying their potential pleiotropic effects in these tissues apart from gonads. In contrast, nanos3, piwil1, piwil2, dnd1 and vasa appeared to be exclusively expressed in gonads (both ovary and testis), and nanos2 showed testis-specific expression. Based on these results nanos3, piwil1, piwil2, dnd1 and vasa were prioritised among the 11 selected genes as potential target genes for sterilisation in Nile tilapia as they have no significant zygotic expression during embryogenesis, they are expressed exclusively in gonads and maternally deposited. These features suggest a potential role of these genes in the specification and maintenance of PGCs during the ontogenic development of Nile tilapia.

Primordial germ cells; Maternal transcripts; Maternal to zygotic transition; Early development;

Gene: Volume 688

Publication date10/03/2019
Publication date online30/11/2018
Date accepted by journal22/11/2018