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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2002 Oct 1;128(3):193-204.

Seasonal changes in hepatic progesterone receptor mRNA, estrogen receptor mRNA, and vitellogenin mRNA in the painted turtle, Chrysemys picta.

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  • 1Department of Biology, Boston University, 5 Cummington St, Boston, MA 02115, USA.


Previous studies using the fresh water turtle Chrysemys picta have demonstrated that progesterone (P) inhibits estradiol (E)-induced vitellogenin (vtg) secretion in this species. Further, there is evidence for the differential expression of the two P receptor isoforms (PRA and PRB) in the liver during the turtle seasonal cycle, correlating with hepatic vitellogenesis. In this study we report changes in the hepatic PR mPNA, ER mRNA, and vitellogenin (vtg) mRNA transcripts during the reproductive cycle of the turtle. Fragments of the turtle hepatic PR and ER cDNAs were cloned and sequenced and a previously cloned turtle vtg cDNA were used as probes in Northern blotting. No 3.7-kb PR mRNA, corresponding to the smaller PR transcript, PRA of other species was found, although, a smaller 1.8-kb transcript (putative PRC mRNA) was present. These observations suggest that the turtle as in the chicken and human, the 4.5-kb PR mRNA transcript encodes both PRA and PRB proteins. Only the larger PR mRNA transcript (4.5-kb), was found to vary significantly during the annual cycle, being highest when vitellogenesis was inhibited in winter and summer. Vtg mRNA could not be detected during the summer or winter, was highest during vitellogenesis in the spring, and reappeared during the fall period of vitellogenesis and ovarian recrudescence. ER mRNA followed a similar pattern, being highest during spring and early fall, when vtg synthesis is high. The data suggest that P/PR, as well as E/ER, may be involved in the seasonal regulation of hepatic vitellogenesis in this species.

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