Ovarian nests in cultured females of the Siberian sturgeon Acipenser baerii (Chondrostei, Acipenseriformes).
Dead end (dnd) encodes an RNA-binding protein that is essential for primordial germ cell (PGC) migration and gametogenesis in vertebrates. In this study, a Chinese sturgeon Acipenser sinensis dead end homologue, designated Asdnd, was identified and characterized. The full-length cDNA of Asdnd was 1630base pairs (bp) and encoded a peptide of 396 amino acid residues. Multiple sequence alignment showed that AsDnd shared six conserved regions of Dnd orthologs, including the RNA recognition motif. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that AsDnd was grouped with teleosts. By quantitative real-time PCR analysis, the Asdnd transcripts were found to originate from the maternal parent and be specifically expressed in gonads of immature Chinese sturgeons of both sexes. Fluorescent in situ hybridization indicated that Asdnd transcripts were restricted to germ cells. In the testis, Asdnd was abundant in spermatogonia and tended to gradually diminish in late spermatogenic stages, while strong signals were found in primary oocytes, as opposed to oogonia, in the ovary. Zebrafish PGCs were clearly visualized at 24h post-fertilization by co-injecting RFP-Asdnd 3' UTR and GFP-nos3 3' UTR mRNA, indicating that dnd 3' UTR has a conserved function among teleosts. Therefore, dnd could serve as a germ cell marker in Chinese sturgeon.