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Unravelling the changes during induced vitellogenesis in female European eel through RNA-Seq: What happens to the liver?

Abstract : The life cycle of European eel (Anguilla anguilla), a catadromous species, is complex and enigmatic. In nature, during the silvering process prior to their long spawning migration, reproductive development is arrested, and they cease feeding. In studies of reproduction using hormonal induction, eels are equivalently not feed. Therefore, in female eels that undergo vitellogenesis, the liver plays different, essential roles being involved both in vitellogenins synthesis and in reallocating resources for the maintenance of vital functions, performing the transoceanic reproductive migration and completing reproductive development. The present work aimed at unravelling the major transcriptomic changes that occur in the liver during induced vitellogenesis in female eels. mRNA-Seq data from 16 animals (eight before induced vitellogenesis and eight after nine weeks of hormonal treatment) were generated and differential expression analysis was performed comparing the two groups. This analysis detected 1,328 upregulated and 1,490 downregulated transcripts. Overrepresentation analysis of the upregulated genes included biological processes related to biosynthesis, response to estrogens, mitochondrial activity and localization, while downregulated genes were enriched in processes related to morphogenesis and development of several organs and tissues, including liver and immune system. Among key genes, the upregulated ones included vitellogenin genes (VTG1 and VTG2) that are central in vitellogenesis, together with ESR1 and two novel genes not previously investigated in European eel (LMAN1 and NUPR1), which have been linked with reproduction in other species. Moreover, several upregulated genes, such as CYC1, ELOVL5, KARS and ACSS1, are involved in the management of the effect of fasting and NOTCH, VEGFA and NCOR are linked with development, autophagy and liver maintenance in other species. These results increase the understanding of the molecular changes that occur in the liver during vitellogenesis in this complex and distinctive fish species, bringing new insights on European eel reproduction and broodstock management.
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Contributor : Sylvie Dufour <>
Submitted on : Monday, December 14, 2020 - 9:56:46 PM
Last modification on : Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 2:56:03 PM
Long-term archiving on: : Monday, March 15, 2021 - 8:24:49 PM


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Francesca Bertolini, Michelle Pinto, Christiaan Henkel, Sylvie Dufour, Jonna Tomkiewicz. Unravelling the changes during induced vitellogenesis in female European eel through RNA-Seq: What happens to the liver?. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2020, ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0236438⟩. ⟨hal-03065698⟩



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