Changes in liver gene expression profiles during sexual maturation of European eel (Anguilla anguilla) males.
ABSTRACT: Gene expression analyses have been performed on liver tissue of sexually mature and immature males using microarrays. 60 eels were transferred to two independent temperature controlled recirculation water units connected to two 500 L cylindro-conical tanks (30 fish per tank) where the fish were acclimated to seawater (35 PSU salinity) over a 2 week period.Eel males in one of the seawater units were injected intramuscularly every week over a 140 day period with 2000 IU hCG/kg (human chorionic gonadotropin, Sigma–Aldrich Chemical) dissolved in 0.9% saline to induce sexual maturation. Eel males in the other recirculation unit were injected weekly over the same period with 0.9% NaCl (vehicle).At the end of the experiment, eels were anesthetized in a solution of 0.1mg/L tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222, Sigma Aldrich) and blood samples collected into heparinized syringes. Tissues (brain, liver and gonads) were collected from sexually immature (n=12) and sexually mature males (n=12).RNeasy Mini Kit (Qiagen) was used to extract RNA from the livers. Tissue samples were pooled and, therefore, each of the biological replicates (n= 4 sexually immature, n=4 sexually mature) contains tissue from three fish. Total RNA concentration was determined using the Nanodrop ND-100 spectrophotometer (NanoDrop Technologies) and sample integrity was assessed using an Agilent 2100 Bioanalyzer (Agilent Technologies). Microarray analysis was conducted using an European eel-specific array consisting of a total of 14,913 probes based on a large collection of high-throughput transcriptomic sequences (Pujolar et al. 2012). Probe sequences and further details on the microarray platform can be found on the GEO database under accession number GPL15124. Data was normalized using a quantile normalization procedure using R (http://www.r-project.org) A comparative analysis of gene expression was conducted between sexually mature and immature males. Sample labelling and hybridization were conducted following the details in Pujolar et al. (2012). Hybridized slides were scanned at 5 µm resolution using an Agilent DNA microarray scanner. Slides were scanned at two different sensitivity levels (XDR Hi 100% and XDR Lo 10%) and the two linked images generated were analysed together. Data were extracted and background subtracted using the standard procedure in Agilent Feature Extraction (FE) software v. 9.5.1. Hybridization success was evaluated using flag values, excluding those intensities not equal to 1.
Project description:Gene expression analyses have been performed on brain tissue of sexually mature and immature males using microarrays. 60 eels were transferred to two independent temperature controlled recirculation water units connected to two 500 L cylindro-conical tanks (30 fish per tank) where the fish were acclimated to seawater (35 PSU salinity) over a 2 week period.Eel males in one of the seawater units were injected intramuscularly every week over a 140 day period with 2000 IU hCG/kg (human chorionic gonadotropin, Sigma–Aldrich Chemical) dissolved in 0.9% saline to induce sexual maturation. Eel males in the other recirculation unit were injected weekly over the same period with 0.9% NaCl (vehicle).At the end of the experiment, eels were anesthetized in a solution of 0.1mg/L tricaine methanesulfonate (MS-222, Sigma Aldrich) and blood samples collected into heparinized syringes. Tissues (brain, including the olfactory bulbs, telencephalon, diencephalon and mesencephalon, and gonads) were collected from sexually immature (n=12) and sexually mature males (n=12).RNA was extracted from brain tissue of a total of 24 (12 mature and 12 immature) males. For each individual, RNA was extracted separately for olfactory bulb, telencephalon and diencephalon. Because RNA concentrations of olfactory bulb, telencephalon and diencephalon were below the amount needed for microarray analysis, a separate experiment for each part of the brain was not possible. Therefore, we combined equal concentrations of olfactory bulb, telencephalon and diencephalon as a single brain sample for each individual.Microarray analysis was conducted using an European eel-specific array consisting of a total of 14,913 probes based on a large collection of high-throughput transcriptomic sequences (Pujolar et al. 2012). Probe sequences and further details on the microarray platform can be found on the GEO database under accession number GPL15124. Data was normalized using a quantile normalization procedure using R (http://www.r-project.org) A comparative analysis of gene expression was conducted between sexually mature and immature males. Sample labelling and hybridization were conducted following the details in Pujolar et al. (2012). Hybridized slides were scanned at 5 µm resolution using an Agilent DNA microarray scanner. Slides were scanned at two different sensitivity levels (XDR Hi 100% and XDR Lo 10%) and the two linked images generated were analysed together. Data were extracted and background subtracted using the standard procedure in Agilent Feature Extraction (FE) software v. 9.5.1. Hybridization success was evaluated using flag values, excluding those intensities not equal to 1.
Project description:BACKGROUND: The vertebrate brain plays a critical role in the regulation of sexual maturation and reproduction by integrating environmental information with developmental and endocrine status. The European eel Anguilla anguilla is an important species in which to better understand the neuroendocrine factors that control reproduction because it is an endangered species, has a complex life cycle that includes two extreme long distance migrations with both freshwater and seawater stages and because it occupies a key position within the teleost phylogeny. At present, mature eels have never been caught in the wild and little is known about most aspects of reproduction in A. anguilla. The goal of this study was to identify genes that may be involved in sexual maturation in experimentally matured eels. For this, we used microarrays to compare the gene expression profiles of sexually mature to immature males. RESULTS: Using a false discovery rate of 0.05, a total of 1,497 differentially expressed genes were identified. Of this set, 991 were expressed at higher levels in brains (forebrain and midbrain) of mature males while 506 were expressed at lower levels relative to brains of immature males. The set of up-regulated genes includes genes involved in neuroendocrine processes, cell-cell signaling, neurogenesis and development. Interestingly, while genes involved in immune system function were down-regulated in the brains of mature males, changes in the expression levels of several receptors and channels were observed suggesting that some rewiring is occurring in the brain at sexual maturity. CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that the brains of eels undergo major changes at the molecular level at sexual maturity that may include re-organization at the cellular level. Here, we have defined a set of genes that help to understand the molecular mechanisms controlling reproduction in eels. Some of these genes have previously described functions while many others have roles that have yet to be characterized in a reproductive context. Since most of the genes examined here have orthologs in other vertebrates, the results of this study will contribute to the body of knowledge concerning reproduction in vertebrates as well as to an improved understanding of eel biology.
Project description:The European eel is a highly migratory fish. After the reproduction in the Sargasso Sea early larval-stages start a passive ocean migration towards European and Mediterranean continental waters. After several years as yellow eels, mature adults change to silver stage and then start their return trip. The trajectory of their backward migration is unknown, because of low probability of capturing migrating individuals, having this capture never been reported in the Mediterranean. Recently, 8 silver eels were collected in the Strait of Sicily. Using literature information about possible individual route and speed, their geographical position was projected up to the spawning site during reproductive season. Despite using optimal and continuous migration swimming speed, none of the specimens may have been able to reach the Sargasso Sea in time for mating. Subsequently, to identify putative Mediterranean areas from which eels could have been reaching the spawning grounds on time, a backward scenario was postulated using the previous scientific assumptions. Our results suggests that just a small quota of Mediterranean silver males successfully reaches the Sargasso area, and only females from the westernmost and central parts of the basin could be able to fruitfully pond their eggs during the supposed spawning period.
Project description:This study reports on the first observation of a spontaneously matured female European eel. The 43-year-old eel, together with eleven other females, resided at an aquarium house since their capture in 2002 and stocking as glass eels in 1978. In June 2019, the girth of the belly of the female increased as a sign of oocyte maturation. The specimen had an estimated gonadosomatic index (GSI) of 47, only half of the oocytes were hydrated and matured, indicating that European eels are polycyclic batch spawners. The live eels of the cohort were still in the previtellogenic phase but their eye sizes were close to that of the matured eel. We hypothesize that substances released by other maturing and spawning fishes may have triggered puberty of the eel. This first observation, and the possibility of more eels maturing in the near future, provides a natural reference for the sexual maturation of the European eel.
Project description:This study was carried out to identify and estimate physiological function of a new type of opsin subfamily present in the retina and whole brain tissues of Japanese eel using RNA-Seq transcriptome method. A total of 18 opsin subfamilies were identified through RNA-seq. The visual opsin family included Rh2, SWS2, FWO, DSO, and Exo-Rhod. The non-visual opsin family included four types of melanopsin subfamily (Opn4x1, Opn4x2, Opn4m1, and Opn4m2), peropsin, two types of neuropsin subfamily (Opn5-like, Opn5), Opn3, three types of TMT opsin subfamily (TMT1, 2, 3), VA-opsin, and parapinopsin. In terms of changes in photoreceptor gene expression in the retina of sexually mature and immature male eels, DSO mRNA increased in the maturation group. Analysis of expression of opsin family gene in male eel brain before and after maturation revealed that DSO and SWS2 expression in terms of visual opsin mRNA increased in the sexually mature group. In terms of non-visual opsin mRNA, parapinopsin mRNA increased whereas that of TMT2 decreased in the fore-brain of the sexually mature group. The mRNA for parapinopsin increased in the mid-brain of the sexually mature group, whereas those of TMT1 and TMT3 increased in the hind-brain of the sexually mature group. DSO mRNA also increased in the retina after sexual maturation, and DSO and SWS2 mRNA increased in whole brain part, suggesting that DSO and SWS2 are closely related to sexual maturation.
Project description:The European eel (<i>Anguilla anguilla</i>) has one of the longest migrations in the animal kingdom. It crosses the Atlantic Ocean twice during its life history, migrating between the spawning area in the Sargasso Sea and Europe, where it is widely distributed. The leptocephalus larvae drift with the Gulf Stream and other currents for more than a year and metamorphose into glass eels when they arrive on the continental shelf and move toward coastal areas. The mechanisms underlying glass eel orientation toward the coast and into freshwater systems are poorly known. However, anguillid eels, including the glass eel life stage, have a geomagnetic sense, suggesting the possibility that they use Earth's magnetic field to orient toward the coast. To test this hypothesis, we used a unique combination of laboratory tests and in situ behavioral observations conducted in a drifting circular arena. Most (98%) of the glass eels tested in the sea exhibited a preferred orientation that was related to the tidal cycle. Seventy-one percent of the same eels showed the same orientation during ebb tide when tested in the laboratory under a manipulated simulated magnetic field in the absence of any other cue. These results demonstrate that glass eels use a magnetic compass for orientation and suggest that this magnetic orientation system is linked to a circatidal rhythm.
Project description:Links between the lunar cycle and the life cycle (migration patterns, locomotor activity, pulses in recruitment) of the European eel (Anguilla anguilla) are well documented. In this study, we hypothesized that the orientation of glass eels at sea is related to the lunar cycle. The European eel hatches in the Sargasso Sea and migrates across the Atlantic Ocean towards Europe. Upon reaching the continental shelf, the larvae metamorphose into glass eels and migrate up the estuaries, where some individuals colonize freshwater habitats. How glass eels navigate pelagic waters is still an open question. We tested the orientation of 203 glass eels in a transparent circular arena that was drifting in situ during the daytime, in the coastal Norwegian North Sea, during different lunar phases. The glass eels swimming at sea oriented towards the azimuth of the moon at new moon, when the moon rose above the horizon and was invisible but not during the other moon phases. These results suggest that glass eels could use the moon position for orientation at sea and that the detection mechanism involved is not visual. We hypothesize a possible detection mechanism based on global-scale lunar disturbances in electrical fields and discuss the implications of lunar-related orientation for the recruitment of glass eels to estuaries. This behaviour could help glass eels to reach the European coasts during their marine migration.
Project description:The European eel (Anguilla anguilla) hatches in the Sargasso Sea and migrates to European and North African freshwater. As glass eels, they reach estuaries where they become pigmented. Glass eels use a tidal phase-dependent magnetic compass for orientation, but whether their magnetic direction is innate or imprinted during migration is unknown. We tested the hypothesis that glass eels imprint their tidal-dependent magnetic compass direction at the estuaries where they recruit. We collected 222 glass eels from estuaries flowing in different cardinal directions in Austevoll, Norway. We observed the orientation of the glass eels in a magnetic laboratory where the magnetic North was rotated. Glass eels oriented towards the magnetic direction of the prevailing tidal current occurring at their recruitment estuary. Glass eels use their magnetic compass to memorize the magnetic direction of tidal flows. This mechanism could help them to maintain their position in an estuary and to migrate upstream.
Project description:The present paper lists all parasite species of the European eel Anguilla anguilla (Linnaeus, 1758), recorded in Poland, in both its saltwater and freshwater habitats. The list has been drawn up, based on data acquired since 1844. The majority of included parasite species are presented with fish infection parameters together with data on their developmental stages and occupied microhabitats, localities and dates of collection of the eels themselves. The database includes 62 parasite taxa (including 50 species, nine identified to the genus level and three to higher taxa), representing at least 47 genera and 39 families. The most frequently-noted parasites of the European eel are the cestode Bothriocephalus claviceps, the nematodes Anguillicoloides crassus, Camallanus lacustris and Raphidascaris acus and the acanthocephalan Acanthocephalus lucii. Four alien species have been noted from this host: A. crassus, the monogeneans Pseudodactylogyrus anguillae and Pseudodactylogyrus bini and the acanthocephalan Paratenuisentis ambiguus. The present list includes both new host records and earlier records not included in previous lists of parasites of eels.
Project description:In this work, we used the eel (Anguilla anguilla) as an animal model to test the hypothesis of Barr et al. (2013a,b) about the putative role of the epidermal mucosa as a phage enrichment layer. To this end, we analyzed the microbial content of the skin mucus of wild and farmed eels by using a metagenomic approach. We found a great abundance of replicating phage genomes (concatemers) in all the samples. They were assembled in four complete genomes of three Myovirus and one Podovirus. We also found evidences that ?KZ and Podovirus phages could be part of the resident microbiota associated to the eel mucosal surface and persist on them over the time. Moreover, the viral abundance estimated by epiflorescent counts and by metagenomic recruitment from eel mucosa was higher than that of the surrounding water. Taken together, our results support the hypothesis that claims a possible role of phages in the animal mucus as agents controlling bacterial populations, including pathogenic species, providing a kind of innate immunity.