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Gene Expr Patterns 2013 Jan 01;135-6:171-6. doi: 10.1016/j.gep.2013.03.001.
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Expression pattern of vasa in gonads of sea cucumber Apostichopus japonicus during gametogenesis and reproductive cycle.

Yan M , Sui J , Sheng W , Shao M , Zhang Z .

The vasa gene is a reliable germline marker to study the origin and development of germ cells and gonads, although the gene product (mRNA or protein) varies between different species. However, there has been little study on vasa genes in holothuroids to date. Here we determined the expression characteristics of the Apostichopus japonicus vasa gene (Aj-vasa) during gametogenesis in the ovary and testis using in situ hybridization and immunohistochemistry. During oogenesis, the expression pattern of Aj-vasa coincided at the mRNA and protein levels. Intensive signals in oogonia decreased gradually with the development of oocytes. Interestingly, the pattern was different during spermatogenesis. The Aj-vasa mRNA level was the highest in spermatogonia, reduced in spermatocytes, low in spermatids and absent in spermatozoa, but the Aj-VASA protein was restricted to spermatogonia and early spermatocytes. These expression characteristics of Aj-vasa persisted in both male and female gonads throughout the reproductive cycle. Our findings show that Aj-vasa mRNA is a good marker for studying the origin and migration of germline cells; moreover, Aj-VASA is a useful tool to identify spermatogonia in A. japonicus. Our findings indicate that Aj-vasa is vital in the development and differentiation of germ cells.

PubMed ID: 23542063
Article link: Gene Expr Patterns

Genes referenced: ddx4 LOC100887844