Isolation, characterization and expression analyses of FSH receptor in protogynous grouper

Mohammad Ashraful Alam, Yasuhisa Kobayashi, Toshiaki Hirai, Masaru Nakamura

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and its receptor (FSHR) play important roles in spermatogenesis. We cloned and characterized the honeycomb grouper Epinephelus merra FSHR (EmFSHR) to elucidate its role in the protogynous sex change in groupers. Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) analysis suggested that EmFSHR was expressed exclusively in the gonads. In situ hybridization showed the distribution of EmFSHR in the granulosa cells of previtellogenic oocytes and Leydig cells in the testis. Quantitative reverse transcription PCR (RT-qPCR) analysis of gonadal EmFSHR transcripts during the process of sex change indicated that the lowest levels were found in the female phase before sex change. EmFSHR transcripts increased during the early transitional phase, when oocytes began to degenerate in parallel with the initiation of gonial germ cell differentiation into spermatogonia. A dramatic increase in EmFSHR transcription occurred during the late transitional phase, when the gonad contained numerous proliferating male germ cells and many degenerated oocytes. EmFSHR expression remained high until the transformation from ovary to testis was complete. The data reveal that female to male sex change is associated with the upregulation of EmFSHR transcripts, and that this upregulation may be responsible for the development of testicular tissue and the progression of spermatogenesis. Furthermore, how the upregulation of EmFSHR is controlled in the initiation of sex change remains to be elucidated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)364-371
Number of pages8
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • FSHR
  • Grouper
  • Sex change
  • cDNA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology


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