Seasonal relationship between gonadotropin, growth hormone, and estrogen receptor mRNA expression in the pituitary gland of largemouth bass.
A determination of the seasonal changes in the expression of the genes encoding the subunits of gonadotropic hormones is an important first step in the understanding of the molecular control of the onset of puberty and the reproductive cycle in fish. In this study, the abundance of transcripts encoding the glycoprotein hormone alpha (GpH-alpha), follicle-stimulating hormone beta (FSH-beta), and luteinizing hormone beta (LH-beta) subunits in pituitaries of female channel catfish were systematically tracked throughout an annual reproductive cycle. All three genes showed a concurrent elevation coinciding with the onset of ovarian recrudescence but then each showed a second elevation at different times of the ovarian cycle. In addition to the initial peak at recrudescence, the expression of FSH-beta and GpH-alpha gene peaked again during mid- and late-vitellogenic growth, respectively. The LH-beta gene expression remained low during the phases of regression and vitellogenic growth but was moderately elevated (7-fold) at the onset of ovarian recrudescence and dramatically elevated (36-fold) just prior to spawning (June-July) when the FSH-beta levels were at their lowest. The expression patterns of FSH-beta and LH-beta are remarkably similar to the ovarian expression of their respective receptors.