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Original Research ARTICLE Provisionally accepted The full-text will be published soon. Notify me

Front. Genet. | doi: 10.3389/fgene.2019.01128

Gonad Transcriptome Analysis of High Temperature Induced Sex Reversal in Chinese Tongue Sole, Cynoglossus semilaevis

 Qian Wang1,  Kaiqiang Liu1,  Bo Feng1, Zhihua Zhang1, Renkai Wang1,  Lili Tang1, Wensheng Li2, Qiye Li3,  Francesc Piferrer4 and  Changwei Shao1*
  • 1Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute (CAFS), China
  • 2Other, China
  • 3China National GeneBank (BGI), China
  • 4Institute of Marine Sciences, Superior Council of Scientific Investigations, Spain

Sex determination mechanisms in vertebrates can be broadly divided into genetic sex determination (GSD) and environmental sex determination (ESD). In addition, some fish species display plasticity during sex determination so that environmental factors can also alter the primary sex to the opposite direction without changing the genotype, a phenomenon called environmental sex reversal (ESR). Temperature is the main factor and thus elevated temperature can have a masculinizing effect. Previous studies on temperature-related ESR have been restricted to genes differentially expressed in mature gonads, or lacking a sex reversed pseudomale description. Thus, the molecular mechanism governing ESR remains a mystery in fish. The Chinese tongue sole (Cynoglossus semilaevis) is a perfect suitable model to illuminate the relationship of sex-determination and temperature because the co-existence of GSD (genetic sex determination) and ESD (environmental sex determination). In the present study, undifferentiated gonads from genetic females and males, plus differentiated gonads from males, females, and pseudomales under high temperature and normal temperature treatment were used for comparative transcriptome analysis. A mean of 68.24 M high-quality clean reads were obtained from each library. The differentially expressed genes (DEGs) related to sex and environmental temperature identified that the heat shock protein gene family had an important role in sex reversal induced by high temperature. Enrichment analyses of GO terms and KEGG pathways showed that Neuroactive ligand-receptor interaction, Cortisol synthesis and secretion, and Steroid hormone biosynthesis may be involved in high temperature induced pseudomale formation. Furthermore, via weighted gene co-expression network analyses, two modules were identified to be significantly positive correlated with pseudomale under high temperature. An illustrated protein-protein interaction map drawn by the yellow module identified a hub gene, hsc70. These findings provide insights into the genetic framework underlying sex determination and sexual differentiation, as well as improve our understanding of the underlying ESR mechanism of sex reversal under high temperature.

Keywords: Transcriptome, high temperature, Sex-reversal, esr, Cynoglossus semilaevis

Received: 30 May 2019; Accepted: 17 Oct 2019.

Copyright: © 2019 Wang, Liu, Feng, Zhang, Wang, Tang, Li, Li, Piferrer and Shao. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.

* Correspondence: Mx. Changwei Shao, Yellow Sea Fisheries Research Institute (CAFS), Qingdao, Shandong Province, China, shaochangwei303@163.com