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W Ge, T Miura, H Kobayashi, R E Peter, and Y Nagahama


We have cloned a full length cDNA coding for activin βB subunit from the goldfish ovary. Sequence analysis of the goldfish activin βB shows that this peptide is extremely conserved across vertebrates. The mature region of goldfish activin βB has 93 and 98% amino acid identity with that of human and zebrafish βB subunit respectively. The identity of the cloned goldfish activin βB was further confirmed by expressing the protein in the Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells followed by detection of the specific activity of activin in the culture medium using F5-5 cell assay. mRNA of goldfish activin βB is expressed in a variety of goldfish tissues including ovary, testis, brain, pituitary, kidney and liver, suggesting a wide range of physiological roles for activin in the goldfish.

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W Ge, M Tanaka, M Yoshikuni, Y Eto, and Y Nagahama


We have cloned a full length cDNA coding for the activin type IIB receptor (GactRIIB) from the goldfish ovary. GactRIIB shares 73 and 70% amino acid identity in the extracellular domain, and 78 and 80% identity in the intracellular domain with the type IIB receptors of the mouse and Xenopus respectively. The intracellular domain of GactRIIB contains two serine kinase consensus sequences, DFKSRN and GTRRYMAPE, in agreement with the reports in other vertebrates that serine/threonine phosphorylation is involved in activin signal transduction. The identity of GactRIIB was confirmed by transient expression in the COS cells followed by activin binding. Iodinated human activin A bound to the GactRIIB-transfected cells and the binding could be completely inhibited by unlabeled activin. Affinity labeling revealed a band of about 85 kDa, which is in agreement with the reported type II receptors in other vertebrates. Together with the fact that activin is expressed in the goldfish ovary, the cloning of activin receptors from the ovary suggests paracrine and autocrine roles for activin in the goldfish ovarian functions.

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JQ Jiang, DS Wang, B Senthilkumaran, T Kobayashi, HK Kobayashi, A Yamaguchi, W Ge, G Young, and Y Nagahama

The Japanese eel (Anguilla japonica) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) 11beta-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase type 2 (11beta-HSD2) cDNAs were isolated from their respective testes cDNA libraries. The cDNAs predict two peptides of 436 and 406 amino acid residues that share about 42% homology with mammalian 11beta-HSD type 2 proteins. Analysis of the tissue distribution pattern by RT-PCR reveals that 11beta-HSD2 is expressed in a wide variety of tissues in tilapia, with higher expression in kidney and gill of both sexes, and with the highest expression in testis. 11beta-Dehydrogenase activity of the eel 11beta-HSD2 was confirmed by demonstrating the conversion of cortisol to cortisone by the recombinant protein after transient expression of this cDNA clone in COS-1 cells. Bands of approximately 2.7 and approximately 3.8 Kb were detected in Northern blot of eel and tilapia testes respectively, which is consistent with the cloned cDNA sizes of the two species. Northern blot analysis also revealed that the expression of the eel testis 11beta-HSD2 gene could be induced by human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) injection, implying a role of 11beta-HSD2 in hCG-induced 11-ketotestosterone production and spermatogenesis in the Japanese eel.