Comparative study of liver vitellogenin gene expression and oocyte yolk accumulation in wild and captive Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus L.)

TitleComparative study of liver vitellogenin gene expression and oocyte yolk accumulation in wild and captive Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus L.)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsPousis, C, De Giorgi C, Mylonas CC, Bridges CR, Zupa R, Vassallo-Agius R, de la Gándara F, Dileo C, De Metrio G, Corriero A
JournalAnimal Reproduction Science
Volume123
Issue1-2
Pages98 - 105
KeywordsBluefin tuna, Oogenesis, Reproduction, Thunnus thynnus, Vitellogenesis
Abstract

The sequence of vitellogenin A (VgA) and vitellogenin B (VgB) cDNAs in Atlantic bluefin tuna (Thunnus thynnus L.) were determined, and vitellogenin expression levels in the liver and oocyte yolk accumulation were compared in wild and captive-reared individuals. Liver and ovary samples were taken from 31 individuals reared experimentally in three commercial Atlantic bluefin tuna fattening sites in the Mediterranean Sea and from 33 wild individuals caught by commercial traps during the fish's migration towards their Mediterranean spawning grounds. The total length of VgA cDNA was 5585 nucleotides and that of VgB was 5267 nucleotides. The identity and similarity between deduced amino acid sequences of VgA and VgB were 60% and 78%, respectively. The Atlantic bluefin tuna VgA and VgB amino acid sequences have high similarities with those of other teleost fishes. Relative levels of VgA and VgB mRNAs were low in April, increased significantly during the reproductive period in May and June, and declined in July. There was a trend towards higher relative levels of VgA and VgB mRNAs in captive fish compared to wild individuals during the reproductive period. The surface occupied by eosinophilic yolk granules in fully vitellogenic oocytes, as well as the frequency of oocytes in late vitellogenesis, was significantly higher in captive compared to wild individuals. The study suggests that the experimental conditions under which Atlantic bluefin tuna individuals were reared allowed the occurrence of normal vitellogenesis, based on gene expression of VgA and VgB in the liver and yolk accumulation in the oocytes. The higher yolk accumulation and frequency of vitellogenic oocytes observed in the ovaries of captive fish suggest that improvements in feeding practices may result in an improved vitellogenic process. © 2010 Elsevier B.V.

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