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Recent studies have revealed that, in addition to regulating the circadian system, clock genes such as cryptochrome (Cry) genes are involved in seasonal and lunar rhythmicity in fish. This study clarified the transcriptional characteristics of a Cry subtype (mgCry2) in the brain of the Malabar grouper, Epinephelus malabaricus, which is an important aquaculture species that spawns around the new moon. The cDNA sequence of mgCry2 showed high identity (97-99%) with fish Cry2 and had an open reading frame encoding a protein with 170 amino acids. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that mgCRY2 had high identity with CRY in other fish species. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) showed the widespread distribution of mgCry2 in neural (brain, pituitary, and retina) and peripheral (heart, liver, kidney, spleen, intestine, and ovary) tissues. When immature Malabar groupers were reared under a light-dark cycle (LD = 12:12) and the amounts of mgCry2 mRNA in the telencephalon and diencephalon were measured at 4-h intervals, the levels increased during photophase and decreased during scotophase. Day-night variation in mgCry2 mRNA abundance was also observed in the pituitary. These daily profiles suggest that mgCry2 is a light-responsive gene in neural tissues. In situ hybridization analyses showed that mgCry2 was strongly transcribed in the nucleus lateralis tuberis of the ventral hypothalamus, peripheral area of the proximal pars distalis, and the pars intermedia of the pituitary. We conclude that clock genes expressed in the pituitary and diencephalon play a role in entraining the endocrine network of the Malabar grouper to periodic changes in external cues.
This article was published in the following journal.
Name: General and comparative endocrinology
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