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Comp Biochem Physiol B Biochem Mol Biol. 2010 Feb;155(2):118-25. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpb.2009.10.015.

Regulation, expression and characterization of aromatase (cyp19b1) transcripts in ovary and testis of rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss).

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  • 1Centre for Biomedical Research, University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.


Cytochrome P450 aromatase is the key enzyme in the pathway that converts androgens to estrogens. The enzyme functions in the smooth endoplasmic reticulum in a complex with NADPH-cytochrome P450 reductase. In teleost fish, at least two separate loci, cyp19a and cyp19b, encode distinct aromatase isoforms. The activity of cyp19a and cyp19b are predominantly associated with the ovary and brain, respectively, although their expression is not confined solely to these tissues. We found that at least five cyp19b1 transcripts with different 5'-UTRs are generated in the ovary and testis of rainbow trout. Regulation for selection of these variants may be through signals present in exon 2 that recruit alternative splicing factors. Also, binding elements for FOXL2 and SF-1 located within the cyp19b1 intron 1 may influence formation of transcripts that contain the 3'-end of the intron. Another transcript devoid of the exon 2 methionine initiator codon may utilize other downstream in-frame start codons. Less developed stages of ovarian and testicular tissues express only the intron-containing transcripts whereas precocious and more mature gonads express all five cyp19b1 messages. The function of these different 5'-UTRs may be for regulation of cyp19b1 at particular developmental stages or to specify control in distinct gonadal cell-types.

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