Sexual differentiation (SD) during development results in anatomical, metabolic, and physiological differences that involve not only the gonads, but also a variety of other biological structures, such as the brain, determining differences in morphology, behavior, and response in the breeding season. In many reptiles, whose sex is determined by egg incubation temperature, such as the leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, embryos incubated at different temperatures clearly differ in the volume of brain nuclei that modulate behavior. Based on the premise that "the developmental decision of gender does not flow through a single gene", we performed an analysis on E. macularius using three approaches to gain insights into the genes that may be involved in brain SD during the thermosensitive period. Using quantitative RT-PCR, we studied the expression of genes known to be involved in gonadal SD such as WNT4, SOX9, DMRT1, Erα, Erβ, GnRH, P450 aromatase, PRL, and PRL-R. Then, further genes putatively involved in sex dimorphic brain differentiation were sought by differential display (DDRT-PCR) and PCR array. Our findings indicate that embryo exposure to different sex determining temperatures induces differential expression of several genes that are involved not only in gonadal differentiation (PRL-R, Wnt4, Erα, Erβ, p450 aromatase, and DMRT1), but also in neural differentiation (TN-R, Adora2A, and ASCL1) and metabolic pathways (GP1, RPS15, and NADH12). These data suggest that the brains of SDT reptiles might be dimorphic at birth, thus behavioral experiences in postnatal development would act on a structure already committed to male or female.

Brain Gene Expression is Influenced by Incubation Temperature During Leopard Gecko (Eublepharis macularius) Development

PALLOTTA, MARIA MICHELA;TURANO, MIMMO;RONCA, RAFFAELE;MEZZASALMA, MARCELLO;PETRACCIOLI, AGNESE;ODIERNA, GAETANO;CAPRIGLIONE, TERESA
2017

Abstract

Sexual differentiation (SD) during development results in anatomical, metabolic, and physiological differences that involve not only the gonads, but also a variety of other biological structures, such as the brain, determining differences in morphology, behavior, and response in the breeding season. In many reptiles, whose sex is determined by egg incubation temperature, such as the leopard gecko, Eublepharis macularius, embryos incubated at different temperatures clearly differ in the volume of brain nuclei that modulate behavior. Based on the premise that "the developmental decision of gender does not flow through a single gene", we performed an analysis on E. macularius using three approaches to gain insights into the genes that may be involved in brain SD during the thermosensitive period. Using quantitative RT-PCR, we studied the expression of genes known to be involved in gonadal SD such as WNT4, SOX9, DMRT1, Erα, Erβ, GnRH, P450 aromatase, PRL, and PRL-R. Then, further genes putatively involved in sex dimorphic brain differentiation were sought by differential display (DDRT-PCR) and PCR array. Our findings indicate that embryo exposure to different sex determining temperatures induces differential expression of several genes that are involved not only in gonadal differentiation (PRL-R, Wnt4, Erα, Erβ, p450 aromatase, and DMRT1), but also in neural differentiation (TN-R, Adora2A, and ASCL1) and metabolic pathways (GP1, RPS15, and NADH12). These data suggest that the brains of SDT reptiles might be dimorphic at birth, thus behavioral experiences in postnatal development would act on a structure already committed to male or female.
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11588/667598
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 13
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 13
social impact