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PLoS One. 2013;8(1):e53915. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0053915. Epub 2013 Jan 16.

Comparative transcriptome analysis of the accessory sex gland and testis from the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis).

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School of Life Science, East China Normal University, Shanghai, China.


The accessory sex gland (ASG) is an important component of the male reproductive system, which functions to enhance the fertility of spermatozoa during male reproduction. Certain proteins secreted by the ASG are known to bind to the spermatozoa membrane and affect its function. The ASG gene expression profile in Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) has not been extensively studied, and limited genetic research has been conducted on this species. The advent of high-throughput sequencing technologies enables the generation of genomic resources within a short period of time and at minimal cost. In the present study, we performed de novo transcriptome sequencing to produce a comprehensive transcript dataset for the ASG of E. sinensis using Illumina sequencing technology. This analysis yielded a total of 33,221,284 sequencing reads, including 2.6 Gb of total nucleotides. Reads were assembled into 85,913 contigs (average 218 bp), or 58,567 scaffold sequences (average 292 bp), that identified 37,955 unigenes (average 385 bp). We assembled all unigenes and compared them with the published testis transcriptome from E. sinensis. In order to identify which genes may be involved in ASG function, as it pertains to modification of spermatozoa, we compared the ASG and testis transcriptome of E. sinensis. Our analysis identified specific genes with both higher and lower tissue expression levels in the two tissues, and the functions of these genes were analyzed to elucidate their potential roles during maturation of spermatozoa. Availability of detailed transcriptome data from ASG and testis in E. sinensis can assist our understanding of the molecular mechanisms involved with spermatozoa conservation, transport, maturation and capacitation and potentially acrosome activation.

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