Project description:BACKGROUND: Commercial Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) farming is restricted by variable oocyte quality, slow growth, and early maturation of male fish. Maternally transferred components regulate early developmental processes; therefore, they have an effect on the future viability of the embryo. Using a newly developed Agilent 10 k custom-made oligonucleotide array, we profiled components of the transcriptome involved in immune defence as well as germline and muscle development during early developmental stages: 8-cell embryos (8CS), germ ring stage (GR), 10-somite stage (10SS), and hatched embryos (HT). In addition, we identified differentially expressed transcripts in low (?9 ± 3% hatching) and high (?86 ± 3°% hatching) quality eggs at 8CS to identify potential maternal markers for embryo quality. RESULTS: Out of 2066 differentially expressed transcripts, 160 were identified as maternal transcripts being specifically expressed at 8CS only. Twenty transcripts were differentially expressed in 8-cell embryos between low and high quality egg groups. Several immune-related transcripts were identified as promising molecular markers of hatching success including interferon regulatory factor 7 and mhc class 2A chain. Differential expression was positively validated with quantitative real-time PCR. CONCLUSIONS: We have demonstrated maternal transfer of innate and adaptive immune system transcripts into Atlantic halibut embryos and their relation with future embryo developmental potential. We identified several transcripts as potential molecular markers of embryo quality. The developed microarray represents a useful resource for improving the commercial production of Atlantic halibut.
Project description:BACKGROUND: An essential first step in the genomic characterisation of a new species, in this case Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus), is the generation of EST information. This forms the basis for subsequent microarray design, SNP detection and the placement of novel markers on genetic linkage maps. RESULTS: Normalised directional cDNA libraries were constructed from five different larval stages (hatching, mouth-opening, midway to metamorphosis, premetamorphosis, and post-metamorphosis) and eight different adult tissues (testis, ovary, liver, head kidney, spleen, skin, gill, and intestine). Recombination efficiency of the libraries ranged from 91-98% and insert size averaged 1.4 kb. Approximately 1000 clones were sequenced from the 5'-end of each library and after trimming, 12675 good sequences were obtained. Redundancy within each library was very low and assembly of the entire EST collection into contigs resulted in 7738 unique sequences of which 6722 (87%) had matches in Genbank. Removal of ESTs and contigs that originated from bacteria or food organisms resulted in a total of 7710 unique halibut sequences. CONCLUSION: A Unigene collection of 7710 functionally annotated ESTs has been assembled from Atlantic halibut. These have been incorporated into a publicly available, searchable database and form the basis for an oligonucleotide microarray that can be used as a tool to study gene expression in this economically important aquacultured fish.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The commercial production of Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.) suffers from a major bottleneck due to the low success of producing juveniles for on-growing. Atlantic halibut females are routinely hand-stripped and incorrect timing of stripping can result in low quality eggs due to post-ovulatory aging. Post-ovulatory aging leads to compositional changes in eggs that include maternally provided proteins and RNAs. There have been few studies of the maternally provided mRNA transcripts that control early development in commercially important fish species. The present study aimed to study maternal gene expression in Atlantic halibut and its relation to egg quality parameters including blastomere symmetry and hatching success. RESULTS:A maternal EST library containing 2341 sequences was constructed by suppressive subtractive hybridisation. Thirty genes were selected for expression studies; 23 novel genes and 7 genes with documented roles in early development. The expressions of twenty-one selected genes were measured by qPCR from fertilization to the 10-somite stage. Three genes were identified as strictly maternal genes that were expressed until the start of gastrulation; askopos (kop), si:dkey-30j22.9 (Tudor family member), and Tudor 5 protein (Tdrd5). The expressions of 18 genes at the 8-cell stage were correlated with egg quality parameters. The majority of genes showed either no or very minor correlations with egg quality parameter. However, two genes correlated positively with hatching success (r> 0.50, HHC00353: r = 0.58, p < 0.01; HHC01517: r = 0.56, p < 0.01) and one gene (HHC00255) was negatively correlated with the percentage of normal blastomeres (r = -0.62, p < 0.05). CONCLUSIONS:During this study we have related maternal levels of gene expression to hatching success in fish. Poor hatching success was not correlated with a general decrease in transcript abundance but with low transcript levels of some specific genes. Thus, the molecular mechanisms leading to low Atlantic halibut egg quality cannot be entirely explained by post-ovulatory aging.
Project description:Commercial Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) farming is restricted by variable oocyte quality, slow growth, and early maturation of male fish. Maternally transferred components regulate early developmental processes; therefore, they have an effect on the future development of an embryo. We profiled components of the transcriptome involved in immune defence as well as germline and muscle development during early developmental stages: 8-cell embryos, germ ring stage, 10-somite stage, and hatched embryos using a 10k oligonucleotide array and quantitative real-time PCR to specifically identify transcripts useful as molecular markers of embryo quality. Overall design: 4 developmental stages, Two conditions of egg quality, 3 replicates each
Project description:Genes encoding the five Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus L.) cytokines; interleukin (IL)-1?, IL-6, IL-11b, IL-12?c, and interferon (IFN) ?, were cloned and characterised at a molecular level. The genomic organisation of the halibut cytokine genes was similar to that seen in mammals and/or other fish species. Several mRNA instability motifs were found within the 3'-untranslated region (UTR) of all cytokine cDNA sequences. The putative cytokine protein sequences showed a low sequence identity with the corresponding homologues in mammals, avian and other fish species. Nevertheless, important structural features were presumably conserved such as the presence, or absence in the case of IL-1?, of a signal peptide, secondary structure and family signature motifs. The relative expression pattern of the cytokine genes was analyzed in several halibut organs, revealing a constitutive expression in both lymphoid and non-lymphoid organs. Interestingly, the gills showed a relatively high expression of IL-1?, IL-12?c and IFN?. The real time RT-PCR data also showed that the mRNA level of IL-1?, IL-6, IL-12?c and IFN? was high in the thymus, while IL-11b was relatively highly expressed in the posterior kidney and posterior gut. Moreover, the halibut brain showed a relatively high level of IL-6 transcripts. Anterior kidney leucocytes in vitro stimulated with imiquimod showed a significant increase in mRNA level of the five halibut cytokine genes. The sequence and characterisation data presented here will be useful for further investigation of both innate and adaptive immune responses in halibut, and be helpful in the design of vaccines for the control of various infectious diseases.
Project description:Atlantic halibut (Hippoglossus hippoglossus) is a high-value, niche market species for cold-water marine aquaculture. Production of monosex female stocks is desirable in commercial production since females grow faster and mature later than males. Understanding the sex determination mechanism and developing sex-associated markers will shorten the time for the development of monosex female production, thus decreasing the costs of farming.Halibut juveniles were masculinised with 17 ?-methyldihydrotestosterone (MDHT) and grown to maturity. Progeny groups from four treated males were reared and sexed. Two of these groups (n?=?26 and 70) consisted of only females, while the other two (n?=?30 and 71) contained balanced sex ratios (50% and 48% females respectively). DNA from parents and offspring from the two mixed-sex families were used as a template for Restriction-site Associated DNA (RAD) sequencing. The 648 million raw reads produced 90,105 unique RAD-tags. A linkage map was constructed based on 5703 Single Nucleotide Polymorphism (SNP) markers and 7 microsatellites consisting of 24 linkage groups, which corresponds to the number of chromosome pairs in this species. A major sex determining locus was mapped to linkage group 13 in both families. Assays for 10 SNPs with significant association with phenotypic sex were tested in both population data and in 3 additional families. Using a variety of machine-learning algorithms 97% correct classification could be obtained with the 3% of errors being phenotypic males predicted to be females.Altogether our findings support the hypothesis that the Atlantic halibut has an XX/XY sex determination system. Assays are described for sex-associated DNA markers developed from the RAD sequencing analysis to fast track progeny testing and implement monosex female halibut production for an immediate improvement in productivity. These should also help to speed up the inclusion of neomales derived from many families to maintain a larger effective population size and ensure long-term improvement through selective breeding.