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Gene Expr Patterns. 2005 Jun;5(5):655-67. Epub 2005 Apr 19.

Characterization and expression pattern of zebrafish Anti-Müllerian hormone (Amh) relative to sox9a, sox9b, and cyp19a1a, during gonad development.

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Institute of Neuroscience, University of Oregon, Eugene, 97403, USA.


The role of Anti-Müllerian hormone (Amh) during gonad development has been studied extensively in mammals, but is less well understood in other vertebrates. In male mammalian embryos, Sox9 activates expression of Amh, which initiates the regression of the Mullerian ducts and inhibits the expression of aromatase (Cyp19a1), the enzyme that converts androgens to estrogens. To better understand shared features of vertebrate gonadogenesis, we cloned amh cDNA from zebrafish, characterized its genomic structure, mapped it, analyzed conserved syntenies, studied its expression pattern in embryos, larvae, juveniles, and adults, and compared it to the expression patterns of sox9a, sox9b and cyp19a1a. We found that the onset of amh expression occurred while gonads were still undifferentiated and sox9a and cyp19a1a were already expressed. In differentiated gonads of juveniles, amh showed a sexually dimorphic expression pattern. In 31 days post-fertilization juveniles, testes expressed amh and sox9a, but not cyp19a1a, while ovaries expressed cyp19a1a and sox9b, but not amh. In adult testes, amh and sox9a were expressed in presumptive Sertoli cells. In adult ovaries, amh and cyp19a1a were expressed in granulosa cells surrounding the oocytes, and sox9b was expressed in a complementary fashion in the ooplasm of oocytes. The observed expression patterns of amh, sox9a, sox9b, and cyp19a1a in zebrafish correspond to the patterns expected if their regulatory interactions have been conserved with mammals. The finding that zebrafish sox9b and sox8 were not co-expressed with amh in oocytes excludes the possibility that amh expression in zebrafish granulosa cells is directly regulated by either of these two genes.

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