Comparative transcriptome analysis of male and female gonads reveals sex-biased genes in spotted scat (Scatophagus argus)

  • Fei-Xiang He
  • Dong-Neng Jiang
  • Yuan-Qing Huang
  • Umar Farouk Mustapha
  • Wei Yang
  • Xue-Fan Cui
  • Chang-Xu Tian
  • Hua-Pu Chen
  • Hong-Juan Shi
  • Si-Ping Deng
  • Guang-Li Li
  • Chun-Hua ZhuEmail author


Scatophagus argus is a new emerging aquaculture fish in East and Southeast Asia. To date, research on reproductive development and regulation in S. argus is lacking. Additionally, genetic and genomic information about reproduction, such as gonadal transcriptome data, is also lacking. Herein, we report the first gonadal transcriptomes of S. argus and identify genes potentially involved in reproduction and gonadal development. A total of 136,561 unigenes were obtained by sequencing of testes (n = 3) and ovaries (n = 3) at stage III. Genes upregulated in males and females known to be involved in gonadal development and gametogenesis were identified, including male-biased dmrt1, amh, gsdf, wt1a, sox9b, and nanos2, and female-biased foxl2, gdf9, bmp15, sox3, zar1, and figla. Serum estradiol-17β and 11-ketotestosterone levels were biased in female and male fish, respectively. Sexual dimorphism of serum steroid hormone levels were interpreted after expression analysis of 20 steroidogenesis-related genes, including cyp19a1a and cyp11b2. This gonadal transcript dataset will help investigate functional genes related to reproduction in S. argus.


Scatophagus argus Transcriptome Gonad Sex determination and differentiation Sex steroid hormone 


Authors’ contributions

FXH and DNJ carried out the experiments, performed the statistical analyses, and drafted the manuscript. YQH, UFM, WY, XFC, and CXT performed the experiments. HPC, HJS, SPD, and GLL participated in protocol development and data analysis. CHZ and DNJ designed and supervised the experiments, analyzed the data, and critically edited the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.

Funding information

This work was funded by Grants from Key Project of “Blue Granary Science and Technology Innovation” of the Ministry of Science and Technology (2018YFD0901203), grants from NSFC of China (31702326 and 41706174), Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province (2016A030313743, 2017A030313101, and 2018B030311050), grant from the Guangdong Provincial Special Fund For Modern Agriculture Industry Technology Innovation Teams (2019KJ149), grant from the Department of Education of Guangdong Province (2018KTSCX090 and 2018KQNCX106), Zhanjiang Science and Technology Bureau (2016A03017), Guangdong Ocean University Natural Science Research Program (2015 and 2016), Project of Provincial Key Platform and Major Scientific Research of Colleges and Universities in Guangdong (2015KTSCX058), Sail Projects of Guangdong (2014.1), Marine Fishery Science and Technology Extension Projects of Guangdong (A201408A06 and A201608B01), and Program for Scientific Research Start-up Funds of Guangdong Ocean University.

Compliance with ethical standards

Animal ethics

All experimental protocols involved in this study were approved by the Regulations for the Administration of Affairs Concerning Experimental Animals for the Science and Technology Bureau of China. Experiments involving S. argus were approved by the Animal Research and Ethics Committee of Guangdong Ocean University.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

10695_2019_693_MOESM1_ESM.docx (752 kb)
ESM 1 (DOCX 751 kb)
10695_2019_693_MOESM2_ESM.xlsx (2.9 mb)
ESM 2 (XLSX 2997 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Fei-Xiang He
    • 1
  • Dong-Neng Jiang
    • 1
  • Yuan-Qing Huang
    • 1
  • Umar Farouk Mustapha
    • 1
  • Wei Yang
    • 1
  • Xue-Fan Cui
    • 1
  • Chang-Xu Tian
    • 1
  • Hua-Pu Chen
    • 1
  • Hong-Juan Shi
    • 1
  • Si-Ping Deng
    • 1
  • Guang-Li Li
    • 1
  • Chun-Hua Zhu
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Guangdong Research Center on Reproductive Control and Breeding Technology of Indigenous Valuable Fish Species, Key Laboratory of Aquaculture in South China Sea for Aquatic Economic Animal of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes, Fisheries CollegeGuangdong Ocean UniversityZhanjiangChina

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