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PLoS One. 2013 Jun 7;8(6):e63599. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0063599. Print 2013.

Epigenetic control of gonadal aromatase (cyp19a1) in temperature-dependent sex determination of red-eared slider turtles.

Author information

1
Section of Integrative Biology, University of Texas at Austin, Austin, Texas, United States of America.

Abstract

In the red-eared slider turtle (Trachemys scripta), a species with temperature-dependent sex determination (TSD), the expression of the aromatase gene during gonad development is strictly limited to the female-producing temperature. The underlying mechanism remains unknown. In this study, we identified the upstream 5'-flanking region of the aromatase gene, gonad-specific promoter, and the temperature-dependent DNA methylation signatures during gonad development in the red-eared slider turtle. The 5'-flanking region of the slider aromatase exhibited sequence similarities to the aromatase genes of the American alligator, chicken, quail, and zebra finch. A putative TATA box was located 31 bp upstream of the gonad-specific transcription start site. DNA methylation at the CpG sites between the putative binding sites of the fork head domain factor (FOX) and vertebrate steroidogenic factor 1 (SF1) and adjacent TATA box in the promoter region were significantly lower in embryonic gonads at the female-producing temperature compared the male-producing temperature. A shift from male- to female-, but not from female- to male-, producing temperature changed the level of DNA methylation in gonads. Taken together these results indicate that the temperature, particularly female-producing temperature, allows demethylation at the specific CpG sites of the promoter region which leads the temperature-specific expression of aromatase during gonad development.

PMID:
23762231
PMCID:
PMC3676416
DOI:
10.1371/journal.pone.0063599
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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