Fisheries Science

, Volume 84, Issue 3, pp 535–551 | Cite as

Oocyte maturation and active motility of spermatozoa are triggered by retinoic acid in pen shell Atrina pectinata

  • Masahiko AwajiEmail author
  • Toshie Matsumoto
  • Daisuke Ojima
  • Shunsuke Inoue
  • Michio Suzuki
  • Masaei Kanematsu
Original Article Aquaculture


For recovery of the declining population of pen shells in the wild, the production of pen shell juveniles for transplantation or aquaculture is underway in Japan. For more stable juvenile production, artificial fertilization methods for pen shells are needed, but methods to induce oocyte maturation (meiosis resumption) used in other bivalves, which make oocytes fertilizable, were ineffective for pen shells. Here, we report evidence showing that retinoic acid (RA) has strong activity in inducing oocyte maturation and activating sperm motility in pen shells. Treatment of fully developed oocytes with 1.0 μM all-trans-RA (at-RA) induced germinal vesicle breakdown, a typical morphological sign of oocyte maturation, but 1.0 μM at-retinol and at-retinal, 2 mM ammonia, and 1.0 μM serotonin were ineffective. Treatment with at-RA for 30 min was sufficient for oocyte maturation and was more potent than its isomers, 9-cis- and 13-cis-RA. Parallel results were obtained for sperm motility activation. Oocyte responsiveness to at-RA increased during the final stage of ovary development. Artificial fertilization was successful only with the oocytes treated with at-RA, and fertilized eggs developed to D-shaped (veliger) larvae without apparent morphological abnormalities. These results indicate the possible application of RA for the artificial fertilization of pen shells.


Pen shell Atrina pectinata Oocyte maturation Sperm motility Retinoic acid Fertilization Seed production 



The authors wish to express sincere gratitude to Ms. A. Tsujino for her expertise in the preparation and staining of paraffin and resin sections. Part of this study was supported by funding (Science and Technology Research Promotion Program for Agriculture, Forestry, Fisheries and Food Industry, 28024C) from the Japan Association for Techno-innovation in Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries (JATAFF). We also thank Edanz Group for editing a draft of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Japanese Society of Fisheries Science 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.National Research Institute of Aquaculture, Japan Fisheries Research and Education AgencyWataraiJapan
  2. 2.National Research Institute of Fisheries and Environment of Inland Sea, Japan Fisheries Research and Education AgencyOnomichiJapan
  3. 3.Department of Applied Biological Chemistry, Graduate School of Agriculture and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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