Primary molecular basis of androgenic gland endocrine sex regulation revealed by transcriptome analysis in Eriocheir sinensis

  • Chengwen Song
  • Lei Liu
  • Min Hui
  • Yuan Liu
  • Hourong Liu
  • Zhaoxia Cui


In crustaceans, the male sexual differentiation and maintenance are specially regulated by androgenic gland (AG). However, little is known about the genes involved in the regulation process. RNA-Seq was performed on AG with ejaculatory duct (AG_ED) and ejaculatory duct (ED) as control in Eriocheir sinensis, one of the most important economic and fishery crabs with typically sex dimorphism. A total of 925 unigenes were identified as differentially expressed genes (DEGs) and the expression of nine genes randomly selected was confirmed by qRT-PCR. 667 unigenes were up-regulated in AG_ED, being supposed to be AG preferential genes. Among them, the full length of insulin-like androgenic gland factor (IAG) cDNA named as Es-IAG was obtained as a logo gene of AG, which together with the genes insulin-like receptor (INR), and single insulin binding domain protein (SIBD), might constitute the sex regulation pathway. Several sex related genes were identified, and their function will have to be investigated. Also, the identification of juvenile hormone epoxide hydrolase 1 (JHEH1), ecdysteroid 22-hydroxylase (DIB) and ecdysone receptor (ECR) preliminarily clarified the molecular regulation mechanism of eyestalk-AG-testis axis, which plays important roles in molting and reproduction. The results will enhance our understanding for the molecular basis of the AG involved in male sex regulation in crabs.


androgenic gland comparative transcriptome Eriocheir sinensis insulin-like androgenic gland factor (IAG) sex regulation 


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Copyright information

© Chinese Society for Oceanology and Limnology, Science Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chengwen Song
    • 1
    • 2
  • Lei Liu
    • 1
  • Min Hui
    • 1
  • Yuan Liu
    • 1
    • 2
  • Hourong Liu
    • 1
    • 3
  • Zhaoxia Cui
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.CAS Key Laboratory of Experimental Marine Biology, Institute of OceanologyChinese Academy of SciencesQingdaoChina
  2. 2.Laboratory for Marine Biology and BiotechnologyQingdao National Laboratory for Marine Science and TechnologyQingdaoChina
  3. 3.University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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