Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 45, Issue 1, pp 245–252 | Cite as

Molecular identification of dmrt1 and its promoter CpG methylation in correlation with gene expression during gonad development in Culter alburnus

  • Yongyi Jia
  • Jianbo Zheng
  • Meili Chi
  • Shili Liu
  • Wenping Jiang
  • Shun Cheng
  • Zhimi GuEmail author
  • Liqiao ChenEmail author


Dmrt1, a member of the Dmrt family, is an important transcription regulator of gender determination. To study the biological function of dmrt1 in sexual differentiation and its potential implication in breeding technology, we obtained the full-length cDNA and proximal promoter sequence of dmrt1 in Culter alburnus, and analyzed the impact of promoter CpG methylation on the gene expression pattern of dmrt1 during gonad development. Dmrt1 was 922 bp in length and consisted a 150 bp 5′-UTR, a 28 bp 3′-UTR, and a 744 bp open reading frame (ORF). Based on the coding sequence of the dmrt1 gene, the deduced amino acid sequence was detected, and the protein structure of this gene was predicted in C. alburnus. The results indicate that the structure and function of dmrt1 were highly conservative compared to other vertebrates. The expression level of dmrt1 mRNA in different tissues was explored by qRT-PCR, which was only highly expressed in the testes and almost undetectable in other tissues. The CpG methylation pattern of the dmrt1 promoter was studied using DNA sequencing of sodium bisulfite in adult testes and ovaries, and it was found that dmrt1 promoter CpGs were not methylated in the testes, whereas hypermethylated in the ovaries. These findings demonstrate that DNA methylation can regulate sexual dimorphic expression of dmrt1, and therefore epigenetic modifications may play a critical role in the gonad differentiation of C. alburnus.


Culter alburnus Dmrt1 CpG methylation Gene expression Sex determination 


Author contributions

Yongyi Jia, Jianbo Zheng, Zhimin Gu, and Liqiao Chen conceived and designed the experiments. Jianbo Zheng, Meili Chi, Shili Liu, and Yongyi Jia performed the experiments. Jianbo Zheng, Wenping Jiang, Shun Cheng, and Yongyi Jia analyzed the data. Yongyi Jia, Jianbo Zheng, Zhimin Gu, and Liqiao Chen wrote the paper.

Funding information

This work was financially supported by grants from Zhejiang Science and Technology Major Program (2016C02055-1).

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the Ethics Committee of Laboratory Animal Center of Zhejiang University (Zju201306-1-11-060).

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10695_2018_558_MOESM1_ESM.jpg (817 kb)
Fig. S1 Sequencing spectrums of bisulfate converted C. alburnus dmrt1 promoter CpG islands in testes and ovaries. Except for methylated CpG dinucleotides, all C nucleotides were converted into T nucleotides after bisulfate treatment. Underscores indicate the methylated CpG dinucleotides. a. represents all sequenced clones of C. alburnus testes. b. demonstrates the first clone of the C. alburnus ovaries (as in Fig. 5c). (JPG 817 kb)
10695_2018_558_MOESM2_ESM.jpg (81 kb)
Fig. S2 (JPG 80 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Life ScienceEast China Normal UniversityShangHaiChina
  2. 2.Key Laboratory of Genetics and BreedingZhejiang Institute of Freshwater FisheriesHuzhouChina

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