Gen Comp Endocrinol 2019 Apr 16. Epub 2019 Apr 16.
CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Marine Bio-resources and Ecology (LMB), Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Applied Marine Biology (LAMB), South China Sea Institute of Oceanology, Institute of South China Sea Ecology and Environmental Engineering, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou, China; University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China. Electronic address:
The gonadotropin-inhibitory hormone (GnIH) plays a negative role in the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis by inhibiting gonadotropin secretion in vertebrates. Male pregnancy and ovoviviparous behavior are unique phenomena among vertebrates. To better understand the neuroendocrine regulatory mechanisms in ovoviviparous fish with male pregnancy, we identified the orthologous GnIH gene in the lined seahorse (Hippocampus erectus). The full-length cDNA of the GnIH precursor was 658 base pairs with an open reading frame of 528 base pairs that encoded a 175-amino acid prepro-GnIH peptide. The seahorse GnIH precursor contained two putative LPXRFamide peptides. Both seahorse LPXRFa-1 and LPXRFa-2 were found to be unique among vertebrates. The synteny blocks of GnIH gene loci were conserved in mammals and teleosts. Tissue distribution analysis revealed that seahorse GnIH mRNA was mainly expressed in the hypothalamus, with relatively high levels observed in the brood pouch. The expression patterns of seahorse GnIH during different reproductive stages and pregnancy stages were also detected, and GnIH mRNA expression was significantly reduced during the early puberty stage. In addition, GnIH mRNA expression was significantly increased during the pregnancy stage compared to non-pregnancy stages. In summary, our results reveal the existence of GnIH in ovoviviparous fish and suggest its involvement in regulation of reproductive behavior and male pregnancy in the male seahorse.