Expression of 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (hsd3b), star and ad4bp/sf-1 during gonadal development in medaka (Oryzias latipes).
Cholesterol side chain cleavage cytochrome P450 (P450scc, Cyp11a) is responsible for the first step in steroidogenesis, catalyzing the conversion of cholesterol to prognenolone. To investigate the differentiation of steroid-producing cells and the function of sex steroids during gonadal differentiation in the teleost fish, medaka (Oryzias latipes), we isolated the full length cDNA of medaka P450scc and analyzed the expression pattern of P450scc mRNA during gonadal development using in situ hybridization. At hatching, and just after the initiation of morphological sex differentiation, we did not detect any P450scc expression in both sexes. In male gonads, expression of P450scc was detected in the interstitial somatic cells 15 days after hatching following the formation of the seminiferous tubule precursor, and was maintained in the interstitial somatic cells throughout testicular development. In the female gonad, expression of P450scc was initially detected in interstitial somatic cells 5 days after hatching. Subsequently, the expression of P450scc was continuously detected in the interstitial somatic cells of the developing ovary. This expression pattern of P450scc differed from that of female specific steroidogenic enzyme P450arom. Both P450scc and P450arom expressing cells, only P450scc expressing cells, and only P450arom expressing cells were observed. Our results suggest that expression of steroidogenic enzymes is regulated by various mechanisms during ovarian development.