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Gen Comp Endocrinol August 1, 2007; 153 (1-3): 280-8.
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Aromatase, steroid-5-alpha-reductase type 1 and type 2 mRNA expression in gonads and in brain of Xenopus laevis during ontogeny.

Urbatzka R , Lutz I , Kloas W .

The key enzymes involved in the production of endogenous sex steroids are steroid-5-alpha-reductase and aromatase converting testosterone (T) into dihydrotestosterone (DHT) and into estradiol (E2), respectively. To gain more insights into the molecular mechanisms of sexual differentiation of amphibians, we determined the mRNA expression of steroid-5-alpha-reductase type1 (Srd5a1), type2 (Srd5a2) and aromatase (Aro) during ontogeny starting from the egg and ending after completion of metamorphosis in Xenopus laevis. Expression of all three enzymes was measured by means of semi-quantitative RT-PCR, determining for the first time Srd5a1 and Srd5a2 mRNA expression in amphibians. mRNA was analyzed in whole body homogenates from stage 12 to 48, while brain and gonads with kidney were studied separately from stage 48 to 66. Different ontogenetic mRNA expression patterns were observed for all genes analyzed, revealing early mRNA expression of Srd5a1 already in the egg at stage 12 whereas Srd5a2 and Aro was detected at stage 39. Sex-specific mRNA expressions of Srd5a2 and of Aro were determined in the gonads with kidney but not in brain. Srd5a2 was two-fold higher expressed in testes than in ovaries while Aro mRNA was ten-fold higher in ovaries. No gender-specific mRNA expression was observed for Srd5a1 in gonads and in brain. The ontogenetic patterns of Aro, Srd5a1 and Srd5a2 suggest that these genes are involved in sexual differentiation of gonads and brain already in early developmental stages. Especially in gonads Srd5a2 seems to be important for physiological regulation of testis development while Aro is associated with the development of ovaries.

PubMed ID: 17362947
Article link: Gen Comp Endocrinol

Species referenced: Xenopus laevis
Genes referenced: b2m cyp19a1 odc1 srd5a1 srd5a2

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