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M. Tanaka, T. M. Telecky, S. Fukada, S. Adachi, S. Chen, and Y. Nagahama


The enzyme aromatase P-450 (P450arom) catalyses the conversion of androgen to oestrogen. A cDNA insert encoding P450arom was isolated from a rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) ovary cDNA library. The insert was sequenced and found to contain an open-reading frame predicted to encode a protein of 522 amino acid residues. The deduced polypeptide is 52% homologous with human, mouse and rat P450arom and 53% homologous with that of chicken. The insert was confirmed to encode P450arom by introducing it into COS-1 monkey kidney tumour cells (COS-1 cells) and detecting the conversion of testosterone to oestradiol-17β by radioimmunoassay. The N-terminal region of the deduced polypeptide was 19 amino acids longer than that of the other four species, and was found by hydropathy plotting to be very hydrophobic.

Northern blot analysis revealed 2.6kb RNA transcripts which were present in the trout ovary during vitellogenesis and hybridized to the cDNA insert. In preparations from subsequent stages of ovarian development, no RNA transcripts hybridized to the probe. Since the RNA transcripts are present only during the stage of oestradiol-β production by the ovarian follicles, oestradiol-17β production may be regulated, in part, by the amount of P450arom mRNA present.

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M Nagae, T Todo, K Gen, Y Kato, G Young, S Adachi, and K Yamauchi


cDNAs encoding the glycoprotein hormone α- and gonadotropin (GTH) IIβ-subunits of Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) pituitary were cloned using the polymerase chain reaction. The nucleotide sequence of the glycoprotein hormone α-subunit cDNA was 364 base pairs (bp) long, encoding 117 amino acids, and that of the GTH IIβ-subunit cDNA was 433 bp long, encoding 140 amino acids. The deduced amino acid sequence of each mature subunit showed high homology with those of other teleosts, indicating that the structure of GTH subunits has been conserved during the evolution of teleosts. Changes in the expression of these subunit genes during ovarian development induced artificially by the injection of chum salmon pituitary homogenate were examined using Northern blot analysis. Glycoprotein hormone α-subunit mRNA increased almost linearly during ovarian development, whereas GTH IIβ-subunit mRNA was detected only at the late vitellogenic and migratory nucleus stages. These data indicate that eel GTH II is synthesized mainly at the late vitellogenic and migratory nucleus stages, and suggest that GTH II plays an important role in final oocyte maturation of Japanese eel. Changes in the expression of glycoprotein hormone α- and GTH IIβ-subunits mRNA correlate with the serum estradiol-17β (E2) and testosterone profile during ovarian development. The increase in mRNA of both subunits is probably due to positive feedback of E2 and testosterone produced by ovarian follicles in response to the GTH contained in chum salmon pituitary homogenate.