Stress, novel sex genes, and epigenetic reprogramming orchestrate socially controlled sex change

Last modified: 
July 10, 2019 - 12:15pm
Type: Journal Article
Year of publication: 2019
Date published: 07/2019
Authors: Erica Todd, Oscar Ortega-Recalde, Hui Liu, Melissa Lamm, Kim Rutherford, Hugh Cross, Michael Black, Olga Kardailsky, Jennifer Graves, Timothy Hore, John Godwin, Neil Gemmell

Bluehead wrasses undergo dramatic, socially cued female-to-male sex change. We apply transcriptomic and methylome approaches in this wild coral reef fish to identify the primary trigger and subsequent molecular cascade of gonadal metamorphosis. Our data suggest that the environmental stimulus is exerted via the stress axis and that repression of the aromatase gene (encoding the enzyme converting androgens to estrogens) triggers a cascaded collapse of feminizing gene expression and identifies notable sex-specific gene neofunctionalization. Furthermore, sex change involves distinct epigenetic reprogramming and an intermediate state with altered epigenetic machinery expression akin to the early developmental cells of mammals. These findings reveal at a molecular level how a normally committed developmental process remains plastic and is reversed to completely alter organ structures.

Freely available?: 
Yes
Summary available?: 
No

Report an error or inaccuracy

Notice an error in the Literature item above? Please let us know in the comments section below. Thank you for helping us keep the Literature Library up-to-date!

Add new comment