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Department of Animal Sciences
The Robert H. Smith Faculty
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The Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

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Characterization of carp gonadotropins: Structure, annual profile, and carp and zebrafish pituitary topographic organization


Hollander-Cohen, L. ; Golan, M. ; Aizen, J. ; Shpilman, M. ; Levavi-Sivan, B. Characterization of carp gonadotropins: Structure, annual profile, and carp and zebrafish pituitary topographic organization. General and Comparative Endocrinology 2018, 264, 28 - 38.

Date Published:



Two gonadotropins, follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH), are important players in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis of vertebrates. In the present work, we describe the construction of recombinant (r) common carp (Cyprinus carpio; c) FSH (rcFSH) and LH (rcLH) using the Pichia pastoris system, the generation of specific antibodies against their respective β subunits, and their use in the development and validation of specific ELISAs. We produced carp rLH and rFSH as single-chain polypeptides, wherein the GTH subunit α was joined with either cLHβ or cFSHβ mature protein-coding sequences to form a fusion gene that encodes a yoked polypeptide, in which the GTH β-subunit forms the N-terminal part and the α-subunit forms the C-terminal part. Competitive ELISAs were developed, using primary antibodies against rcLHβ or rcFSHβ, respectively, and rcLHβα or rcFSHβα for the standard curves. The standard curves for cLH paralleled those of pituitary extracts of the homologous fish and also those of other cyprinids species like the black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus), goldfish (Carassius auratus), silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix), and grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). We used the specific antibodies raised against cFSH and cLH to study the specific localization of the different GTH cells in the pituitary of carp and its taxonomic relative species – the zebrafish. Both FSH and LH cells are localized in the center of the proximal pars distalis enveloping both sides of the neurohypophysis. LH cells form a continuous population throughout the PPD, while FSH cells are more loosely distributed throughout the same area and form small aggregations. Marked annual changes were encountered in gonadosomatic index (GSI), follicle diameter, mRNA levels and protein levels of FSH and LH. From September to November, all fish had low GSI, and the ovary contained previtellogenic follicles. From December, the GSI level increased and remained high until March, the follicular diameter reached its maximum in January, where the ovary contained large fully grown follicles. Thereafter, spawning occurred through March and April and ended in May, and GSI level and follicle diameter increased again; and the ovary contained mid-vitellogenic follicles. LH pituitary content and mRNA levels were low at pre- and early vitellogenesis, increasing gradually during this process to reach a peak of LH mRNA levels in mid vitellogenic ovary and a peak of LH content in fully grown ovarian follicles. However, no significant change occurred in FSH pituitary content and mRNA levels in vitellogenic fish and in fish during final maturation stages. A dramatic difference was found in the total content of each gonadotropin in the pituitary, with higher LH than FSH. Moreover, follicle diameter was positively and significantly correlated with LH pituitary content and its transcript levels – but not with the pituitary content or mRNA levels of FSH. Taken together, these results indicate that in carp, LH alone is sufficient to regulate both vitellogenesis and final oocyte maturation while FSH may have another, yet undefined role.

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Last updated on 07/11/2019