Medaka (Oryzias latipes) is a small egg-laying freshwater teleost native to East Asia that has become an excellent model system for developmental genetics and evolutionary biology. The draft medaka genome sequence (700 Mb) was reported in June 2007, and its substantial genomic resources have been opened to the public through the University of Tokyo Genome Browser Medaka (UTGB/medaka) database. This database provides basic genomic information, such as predicted genes, expressed sequence tags (ESTs), guanine/cytosine (GC) content, repeats and comparative genomics, as well as unique data resources including (i) 2473 genetic markers and experimentally confirmed PCR primers that amplify these markers, (ii) 142 414 bacterial artificial chromosome (BAC) and 217 344 fosmid end sequences that amount to 15.0- and 11.1-fold clone coverage of the entire genome, respectively, and were used for draft genome assembly, (iii) 16 519 460 single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs), and 2 859 905 insertions/deletions detected between two medaka inbred strain genomes and (iv) 841 235 5′-end serial analyses of gene-expression (SAGE) tags that identified 344 266 transcription start sites on the genome. UTGB/medaka is available at: http://medaka.utgenome.org/
FXYD proteins are novel regulators of Na+-K+-ATPase (NKA). In fish subjected to salinity challenges, NKA activity in osmoregulatory organs (e.g., gills) is a primary driving force for the many ion transport systems that act in concert to maintain a stable internal environment. Although teleostean FXYD proteins have been identified and investigated, previous studies focused on only a limited group of species. The purposes of the present study were to establish the brackish medaka (Oryzias dancena) as a potential saltwater fish model for osmoregulatory studies and to investigate the diversity of teleostean FXYD expression profiles by comparing two closely related euryhaline model teleosts, brackish medaka and Japanese medaka (O. latipes), upon exposure to salinity changes. Seven members of the FXYD protein family were identified in each medaka species, and the expression of most branchial fxyd genes was salinity-dependent. Among the cloned genes, fxyd11 was expressed specifically in the gills and at a significantly higher level than the other fxyd genes. In the brackish medaka, branchial fxyd11 expression was localized to the NKA-immunoreactive cells in gill epithelia. Furthermore, the FXYD11 protein interacted with the NKA α-subunit and was expressed at a higher level in freshwater-acclimated individuals relative to fish in other salinity groups. The protein sequences and tissue distributions of the FXYD proteins were very similar between the two medaka species, but different expression profiles were observed upon salinity challenge for most branchial fxyd genes. Salinity changes produced different effects on the FXYD11 and NKA α-subunit expression patterns in the gills of the brackish medaka. To our knowledge, this report is the first to focus on FXYD expression in the gills of closely related euryhaline teleosts. Given the advantages conferred by the well-developed Japanese medaka system, we propose the brackish medaka as a saltwater fish model for osmoregulatory studies.
Myc is a global transcriptional regulator and one of the most frequently overexpressed oncoproteins in human tumors. It is well established that activation of Myc leads to enhanced cell proliferation but can also lead to increased apoptosis. The use of animal models expressing deregulated levels of Myc has helped to both elucidate its function in normal cells and give insight into how Myc initiates and maintains tumorigenesis. Analyses of the medaka (Oryzias latipes) genome uncovered the unexpected presence of two Myc gene copies in this teleost species. Comparison of these Myc versions to other vertebrate species revealed that one gene, myc17, differs by the loss of some conserved regulatory protein motifs present in all other known Myc genes. To investigate how such differences might affect the basic biological functions of Myc, we generated a tamoxifen-inducible in vivo model utilizing a natural, fish-specific Myc gene. Using this model we show that, when activated, Myc17 leads to increased proliferation and to apoptosis in a dose-dependent manner, similar to human Myc. We have also shown that long-term Myc17 activation triggers liver hyperplasia in adult fish, allowing this newly established transgenic medaka model to be used to study the transition from hyperplasia to liver cancer and to identify Myc-induced tumorigenesis modifiers.
There are approximately 25 000 species in the division Teleostei and most are believed to have arisen during a relatively short period of time ca. 200 Myr ago. The discovery of 'extra' Hox gene clusters in zebrafish (Danio rerio), medaka (Oryzias latipes), and pufferfish (Fugu rubripes), has led to the hypothesis that genome duplication provided the genetic raw material necessary for the teleost radiation. We identified 27 groups of orthologous genes which included one gene from man, mouse and chicken, one or two genes from tetraploid Xenopus and two genes from zebrafish. A genome duplication in the ancestor of teleost fishes is the most parsimonious explanation for the observations that for 15 of these genes, the two zebrafish orthologues are sister sequences in phylogenies that otherwise match the expected organismal tree, the zebrafish gene pairs appear to have been formed at approximately the same time, and are unlinked. Phylogenies of nine genes differ a little from the tree predicted by the fish-specific genome duplication hypothesis: one tree shows a sister sequence relationship for the zebrafish genes but differs slightly from the expected organismal tree and in eight trees, one zebrafish gene is the sister sequence to a clade which includes the second zebrafish gene and orthologues from Xenopus, chicken, mouse and man. For these nine gene trees, deviations from the predictions of the fish-specific genome duplication hypothesis are poorly supported. The two zebrafish orthologues for each of the three remaining genes are tightly linked and are, therefore, unlikely to have been formed during a genome duplication event. We estimated that the unlinked duplicated zebrafish genes are between 300 and 450 Myr. Thus, genome duplication could have provided the genetic raw material for teleost radiation. Alternatively, the loss of different duplicates in different populations (i.e. 'divergent resolution') may have promoted speciation in ancient teleost populations.
Human infection by Mycobacterium tuberculosis is endemic, with approximately 2 billion infected and is the most common cause of adult death due to an infectious agent. Because of the slow growth rate of M. tuberculosis and risk to researchers, other species of Mycobacterium have been employed as alternative model systems to study human tuberculosis (TB). Mycobacterium marinum may be a good surrogate pathogen, conferring TB-like chronic infections in some fish. Medaka (Oryzias latipes) has been established for over five decades as a laboratory fish model for: toxicology, genotoxicity, teratogenesis, carcinogenesis, classical genetics and embryology. We are investigating if medaka might also serve as a host for M. marinum in order to model human TB. We show that both acute and chronic infections are inducible in a dose dependent manner. Colonization of target organs and systemic granuloma formation has been demonstrated through the use of histology. M. marinum expressing green fluorescent protein (Gfp) was used to monitor bacterial colonization of these organs in fresh tissues as well as in intact animals. Moreover, we have employed the See-Through fish line, a variety of medaka devoid of major pigments, to monitor real-time disease progression, in living animals. We have also compared the susceptibility of another prominent fish model, zebrafish (Danio rerio), to our medaka-M. marinum model. We determined the course of infections in zebrafish is significantly more severe than in medaka. Together, these results indicate that the medaka-M. marinum model provides unique advantages for studying chronic mycobacteriosis.
Danio rerio; granuloma; medaka; Mycobacterium marinum; Oryzias latipes; tuberculosis; zebrafish
The nuclear receptor farnesoid X receptor alpha (FXRα, NR1H4) is activated by bile acids in multiple species including mouse, rat, and human and in this study we have identified two isoforms of Fxrα in Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), a small freshwater teleost. Both isoforms share a high amino acid sequence identity to mammalian FXRα (~70% in the ligand-binding domain). Fxrα1 and Fxrα2 differ within the AF1 domain due to alternative splicing at the fourth intron-exon boundary. This process results in Fxrα1 having an extended N-terminus compared to Fxrα2. A Gal4DBD-FxrαLBD fusion construct was activated by chenodeoxycholic, cholic, deoxycholic and lithocholic acids, and the synthetic agonist GW4064 in transient transactivation assays. Activation of the Gal4DBD-FxrαLBD fusion construct was enhanced by addition of PGC-1α, as demonstrated through titration assays. Surprisingly, when the full-length versions of the two Fxrα isoforms were compared in transient transfection assays, Fxrα2 was activated by C24 bile acids and GW4064, while Fxrα1 was not significantly activated by any of the compounds tested. Since the only significant difference between the full-length constructs was sequence in the AF1 domain, these experiments highlight a key functional region in the Fxrα AF1 domain. Furthermore, mammalian two-hybrid studies demonstrated the ability of Fxrα2, but not Fxrα1, to interact with PGC-1α and SRC-1, and supported our results from the transient transfection reporter gene activation assays. These data demonstrate that both mammalian and teleost FXR (Fxrα2 isoform) are activated by primary and secondary bile acids.
Betanodaviruses, members of the family Nodaviridae, have bipartite, positive-sense RNA genomes and are the causal agents of viral nervous necrosis in many marine fish species. Recently, the viruses were shown to infect a few freshwater fish species including a model fish medaka (Oryzias latipes). Although virological study using cultured medaka cells would provide a lot of insight into virus-fish interactions in molecular aspects, no such cells have yet been tested for virus susceptibility.
We tested ten medaka cell lines for susceptibilities to redspotted grouper nervous necrosis virus (RGNNV). Although the viral coat protein was detected in all the cell lines inoculated, the levels of cytopathic effect development and viral propagation were quite different among the cell lines. Those levels were especially high in OLHNI-1 and OLHNI-2 cells, but were extremely low in OLME-104 cells. Some cell lines entered into antiviral state after RGNNV infections probably because of inducing an antiviral system. This is the first report to examine the susceptibilities of cultured medaka cells against a virus.
OLHNI-1 and OLHNI-2 cells are candidates of new standard cells for betanodavirus study because of their high susceptibilities to the virus and their several advantages as model fish cells.
The small freshwater teleost, medaka (Oryzias latipes), has a history of usage in studies of chronic toxicity of liver and biliary system. Recent progress with this model has focused on defining the medaka hepatobiliary system. Here we investigate critical liver function and toxicity by examining the in vivo role and function of the farnesoid X receptor alpha (FXRα, NR1H4), a member of the nuclear receptor superfamily that plays an essential role in the regulation of bile acid homeostasis. Quantitative mRNA analysis of medaka FXRα demonstrates differential expression of two FXRα isoforms designated Fxrα1 and Fxrα2, in both free swimming medaka embryos with remaining yolk (eleutheroembryos, EEs) and adults. Activation of medaka Fxrα in vivo with GW4064 (a strong FXRα agonist) resulted in modification of gene expression for defined FXRα gene targets including the bile salt export protein, small heterodimer partner, and cytochrome P450 7A1. Histological examination of medaka liver subsequent to GW4064 exposure demonstrated significant lipid accumulation, cellular and organelle alterations in both hepatocytes and biliary epithelial cells of the liver. This report of hepatobiliary injury following GW4064 exposure extends previous investigations of the intrahepatic biliary system in medaka, reveals sensitivity to toxicant exposure, and illustrates the need for added resolution in detection and interpretation of toxic responses in this vertebrate.
Farnesoid X receptor; Liver; Medaka; Toxicity; Eleutheroembryo
The molecular properties and roles of luteinizing hormone (Lh) and its receptor (Lhcgrbb) have not been studied for the medaka (Oryzias latipes), which is an excellent animal model for ovulation studies. Here, we characterized the medaka Lh/Lhcgrbb system, with attention to its involvement in the ovulatory process of this teleost fish. In the medaka ovary, follicle-stimulating hormone receptor mRNA was expressed in small and medium-sized follicles, while lhcgrbb mRNA was expressed in the follicle layers of all growing follicles. Experiments using HEK 293T cells expressing medaka Lhcgrbb in vitro revealed that gonadotropin from pregnant mare’s serum and medaka recombinant Lh (rLh) bound to the fish Lhcgrbb. The fish gonadotropin subunits Gtha, Fshb, and Lhb were essentially expressed at fairly constant levels in the pituitary of the fish during a 24-h spawning cycle. Using medaka rLh, we developed a follicle culture system that allowed us to follow the whole process of oocyte maturation and ovulation in vitro. This follicle culture method enabled us to determine that the Lh surge for the preovulatory follicle occurred in vivo between 19 and 15 h before ovulation. The present study also showed that oocyte maturation and ovulation were delayed several hours in vitro compared with in vivo. Treatment of large follicles with medaka rLh in vitro significantly increased the expression of Mmp15, which was previously demonstrated to be crucial for ovulation in the fish. These findings demonstrate that Lh/Lhcgrbb is critically involved in the induction of oocyte maturation and ovulation.
Gene duplication is a major force of evolution. One whole genome duplication (WGD) event in the fish ancestor generated genome-wide duplicates in all modern species. Coloration and patterning on the animal body surface exhibit enormous diversity, representing a mysterious and ideal system for understanding gene evolution. Surface colors and patterns are determined primarily by pigment cells in the skin and eye. Thus, microphthalmia-associated transcription factor (Mitf) as a master regulator of melanocyte development is excellent for studying the evolution of WGD-derived gene duplicates. Here we report the evolution of mitf duplicate, mitf1 and mitf2, in the fish medaka (Oryzias latipes), which encode medaka co-homologs Mitf1 and Mitf2 of the mouse Mitf. Compared to mitf1, mitf2 exhibits an accelerated sequence divergence and loses melanocytic expression in embryos at critical developmental stages. Compared to a Xiphophorus counterpart, the medaka Mitf2 displayed a reduced activity in activating melanogenic gene expression by reporter assays and RT-PCR analyses. We show that the medaka Mitf2 has the ability to induce melanocyte differentiation in medaka embryonic stem cells but at a remarkably reduced efficiency compared to the Xiphophorus counterpart. Our data suggest differential evolution of the medaka mitf duplicate, with mitf1 adopting conservation and mitf2 employing degeneration, which is different from the duplication-degeneration-complementation proposed as the mechanism to preserve many gene duplicates in zebrafish. Our finding reveals species-specific variations for mitf duplicate evolution, in agreement with enormous diversity of body coloration and patterning.
mitf; gene duplicate; melanocyte; neural crest; pigmentation.
An accumulating body of research indicates there is an increased cancer risk associated with chronic infections. The genus Mycobacterium contains a number of species, including M. tuberculosis, which mount chronic infections and have been implicated in higher cancer risk. Several non-tuberculosis mycobacterial species, including M. marinum, are known to cause chronic infections in fish and like human tuberculosis, often go undetected. The elevated carcinogenic potential for fish colonies infected with Mycobacterium spp. could have far reaching implications because fish models are widely used to study human diseases. Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) is an established laboratory fish model for toxicology, mutagenesis, and carcinogenesis; and produces a chronic tuberculosis-like disease when infected by M. marinum. We examined the role that chronic mycobacterial infections play in cancer risk for medaka. Experimental M. marinum infections of medaka alone did not increase the mutational loads or proliferative lesion incidence in all tissues examined. However, we showed that chronic M. marinum infections increased hepatocellular proliferative lesions in fish also exposed to low doses of the mutagen benzo[a]pyrene. These results indicate that chronic mycobacterial infections of medaka are acting as tumor promoters and thereby suggest increased human risks for cancer promotion in human populations burdened with chronic tuberculosis infections.
benzo[a]pyrene; carcinogenesis; hepatic neoplasia; inflammation; Oryzias latipes; tuberculosis; non-tuberculosis mycobacteria
MicroRNAs (miRNAs) are endogenous non-protein-coding RNA genes which exist in a wide variety of organisms, including animals, plants, virus and even unicellular organisms. Medaka (Oryzias latipes) is a useful model organism among vertebrate animals. However, no medaka miRNAs have been investigated systematically. It is beneficial to conduct a genome-wide miRNA discovery study using the next generation sequencing (NGS) technology, which has emerged as a powerful sequencing tool for high-throughput analysis.
In this study, we adopted ABI SOLiD platform to generate small RNA sequence reads from medaka tissues, followed by mapping these sequence reads back to medaka genome. The mapped genomic loci were considered as candidate miRNAs and further processed by a support vector machine (SVM) classifier. As result, we identified 599 novel medaka pre-miRNAs, many of which were found to encode more than one isomiRs. Besides, additional minor miRNAs (also called miRNA star) can be also detected with the improvement of sequencing depth. These quantifiable isomiRs and minor miRNAs enable us to further characterize medaka miRNA genes in many aspects. First of all, many medaka candidate pre-miRNAs position close to each other, forming many miRNA clusters, some of which are also conserved across other vertebrate animals. Secondly, during miRNA maturation, there is an arm selection preference of mature miRNAs within precursors. We observed the differences on arm selection preference between our candidate pre-miRNAs and their orthologous ones. We classified these differences into three categories based on the distribution of NGS reads. Finally, we also investigated the relationship between conservation status and expression level of miRNA genes. We concluded that the evolutionally conserved miRNAs were usually the most abundant ones.
Medaka is a widely used model animal and usually involved in many biomedical studies, including the ones on development biology. Identifying and characterizing medaka miRNA genes would benefit the studies using medaka as a model organism.
Gene targeting (GT) provides a powerful tool for the generation of precise genetic alterations in embryonic stem (ES) cells to elucidate gene function and create animal models for human diseases. This technology has, however, been limited to mouse and rat. We have previously established ES cell lines and procedures for gene transfer and selection for homologous recombination (HR) events in the fish medaka (Oryzias latipes).
Methodology and Principal Findings
Here we report HR-mediated GT in this organism. We designed a GT vector to disrupt the tumor suppressor gene p53 (also known as tp53). We show that all the three medaka ES cell lines, MES1∼MES3, are highly proficient for HR, as they produced detectable HR without drug selection. Furthermore, the positive-negative selection (PNS) procedure enhanced HR by ∼12 folds. Out of 39 PNS-resistant colonies analyzed, 19 (48.7%) were positive for GT by PCR genotyping. When 11 of the PCR-positive colonies were further analyzed, 6 (54.5%) were found to be bona fide homologous recombinants by Southern blot analysis, sequencing and fluorescent in situ hybridization. This produces a high efficiency of up to 26.6% for p53 GT under PNS conditions. We show that p53 disruption and long-term propagation under drug selection conditions do not compromise the pluripotency, as p53-targeted ES cells retained stable growth, undifferentiated phenotype, pluripotency gene expression profile and differentiation potential in vitro and in vivo.
Our results demonstrate that medaka ES cells are proficient for HR-mediated GT, offering a first model organism of lower vertebrates towards the development of full ES cell-based GT technology.
The Medaka Expression Pattern Database (MEPD) stores and integrates information of gene expression during embryonic development of the small freshwater fish Medaka (Oryzias latipes). Expression patterns of genes identified by ESTs are documented by images and by descriptions through parameters such as staining intensity, category and comments and through a comprehensive, hierarchically organized dictionary of anatomical terms. Sequences of the ESTs are available and searchable through BLAST. ESTs in the database are clustered upon entry and have been blasted against public data-bases. The BLAST results are updated regularly, stored within the database and searchable. The MEPD is a project within the Medaka Genome Initiative (MGI) and entries will be interconnected to integrated genomic map databases. MEPD is accessible through the WWW at http://medaka.dsp.jst.go.jp/MEPD.
We investigated the efficacy of the antihypertensive drug telmisartan (Tel) and the mechanisms underlying the progression from simple steatosis to nonalcoholic steatohepatitis (NASH) in a medaka (Oryzias latipes) NASH model. We used the NASH activity score (NAS) developed in humans to assess the histology of the medaka NASH model and found that NAS increased with time. Further, TUNEL-positive apoptosis hepatocytes were found in the medaka NASH model. Tel administration resulted in the increased expression of liver peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ, carnitine palmitoyltransferase 1 and acyl-CoA oxidase 1 and decreased the number of 8-hydroxydeoxyguanosine-positive hepatocytes and the migration of macrophages positive for diastase-periodic-acid-Schiff. Medaka NAS was improved by Tel administration but fatty acid content was not affected. Tel reduced the infiltration of macrophages into the liver and ameliorated NASH pathology.
Nonalcoholic steatohepatitis; Telmisartan; Macrophage; Apoptosis; Medaka; Oryzias latipes (Teleostei)
A reverse genetics approach for the routine generation of medaka (Oryzias latipes) gene knockouts is described and applied to create a cryopreserved resource containing knockouts for most medaka genes.
We have established a reverse genetics approach for the routine generation of medaka (Oryzias latipes) gene knockouts. A cryopreserved library of N-ethyl-N-nitrosourea (ENU) mutagenized fish was screened by high-throughput resequencing for induced point mutations. Nonsense and splice site mutations were retrieved for the Blm, Sirt1, Parkin and p53 genes and functional characterization of p53 mutants indicated a complete knockout of p53 function. The current cryopreserved resource is expected to contain knockouts for most medaka genes.
In the initial phase of development of fish embryos, a prominent and critical event is the midblastula transition (MBT). Before MBT cell cycle is rapid, highly synchronous and zygotic gene transcription is turned off. Only during MBT the cell cycle desynchronizes and transcription is activated. Multiple mechanisms, primarily the nucleocytoplasmic ratio, are supposed to control MBT activation. Unexpectedly, we find in the small teleost fish medaka (Oryzias latipes) that at very early stages, well before midblastula, cell division becomes asynchronous and cell volumes diverge. Furthermore, zygotic transcription is extensively activated already after the 64-cell stage. Thus, at least in medaka, the transition from maternal to zygotic transcription is uncoupled from the midblastula stage and not solely controlled by the nucleocytoplasmic ratio.
Acetylcholinesterase (AChE) and butyrylcholinesterase (BChE) are thought to be the result of a gene duplication event early in vertebrate evolution. To learn more about the evolution of these enzymes, we expressed in vitro, characterized, and modeled a recombinant cholinesterase (ChE) from a teleost, the medaka Oryzias latipes. In addition to AChE, O. latipes has a ChE that is different from either vertebrate AChE or BChE, which we are classifying as an atypical BChE, and which may resemble a transitional form between the two. Of the fourteen aromatic amino acids in the catalytic gorge of vertebrate AChE, ten are conserved in the atypical BChE of O. latipes; by contrast, only eight are conserved in vertebrate BChE. Notably, the atypical BChE has one phenylalanine in its acyl pocket, while AChE has two and BChE none. These substitutions could account for the intermediate nature of this atypical BChE. Molecular modeling supports this proposal. The atypical BChE hydrolyzes acetylthiocholine (ATCh) and propionylthiocholine (PTCh) preferentially but butyrylthiocholine (BTCh) to a considerable extent, which is different from the substrate specificity of AChE or BChE. The enzyme shows substrate inhibition with the two smaller substrates but not with the larger substrate BTCh. In comparison, AChE exhibits substrate inhibition, while BChE does not, but may instead show substrate activation. The atypical BChE from O. latipes also shows a mixed pattern of inhibition. It is effectively inhibited by physostigmine, typical of all ChEs. However, although the atypical BChE is efficiently inhibited by the BChE-specific inhibitor ethopropazine, it is not by another BChE inhibitor, iso-OMPA, nor by the AChE-specific inhibitor BW284c51. The atypical BChE is found as a glycophosphatidylinositol-anchored (GPI-anchored) amphiphilic dimer (G2a), which is unusual for any BChE. We classify the enzyme as an atypical BChE and discuss its implications for the evolution of AChE and BChE and for ecotoxicology.
Retroid agents are genomes that encode a reverse transcriptase (RT) and replicate or transpose by way of an RNA intermediate. The Genome Parsing Suite (GPS) is software created to identify and characterize Retroid agents in any genome database (McClure et al. 2005). The detailed analysis of all Retroid agents found by the GPS in Danio rerio (zebrafish), Oryzias latipes (medaka), Gasterosteus aculeatus (stickleback) and Tetraodon nigroviridis (spotted green pufferfish) reveals extensive Retroid agent diversity in the compact genomes of all four fish. Novel Retroid agents were identified by the GPS software: the telomerase reverse transcriptase (TERT) in O. latipes, G. aculeatus and T. nigroviridis and a potential TERT in D. rerio, a retrotransposon in D. rerio, and multiple lineages of endogenous retroviruses (ERVs) in D. rerio, O. latipes and G. aculeatus.
Retroid; transposable elements; Genome Parsing Suite software; Danio rerio; Oryzias latipes; Gasterosteus aculeatus; Tetraodon nigroviridis
Might DNA sequence variation reflect germline genetic activity and underlying chromatin structure? Using two strains of medaka (Japanese killifish, Oryzias latipes), we compared genomic sequence and mapped ~37.3 million nucleosome cores from medaka Hd-rR blastulae, together with 11,654 representative transcription start sites from six embryonic stages. We observed a ~200-bp periodic pattern of genetic variation downstream of transcription start sites; the rate of insertions and deletions longer than 1bp peaked at positions approximately +200, +400, and +600bp, while the point mutation rate showed corresponding valleys. This ~200-bp periodicity was correlated with the chromatin structure, with nucleosome occupancy minimized at positions 0, +200, +400, and +600bp. These data exemplify the potential for genetic activity (transcription) and chromatin structure to contribute in molding the DNA sequence on an evolutionary timescale.
Small laboratory fish share many anatomical and histological characteristics with other vertebrates, yet can be maintained in large numbers at low cost for lifetime studies. Here we characterize biomarkers associated with normal aging in the Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes), a species that has been widely used in toxicology studies and has potential utility as a model organism for experimental aging research.
The median lifespan of medaka was approximately 22 months under laboratory conditions. We performed quantitative histological analysis of tissues from age-grouped individuals representing young adults (6 months old), mature adults (16 months old), and adults that had survived beyond the median lifespan (24 months). Livers of 24-month old individuals showed extensive morphologic changes, including spongiosis hepatis, steatosis, ballooning degeneration, inflammation, and nuclear pyknosis. There were also phagolysosomes, vacuoles, and residual bodies in parenchymal cells and congestion of sinusoidal vessels. Livers of aged individuals were characterized by increases in lipofuscin deposits and in the number of TUNEL-positive apoptotic cells. Some of these degenerative characteristics were seen, to a lesser extent, in the livers of 16-month old individuals, but not in 6-month old individuals. The basal layer of the dermis showed an age-dependent decline in the number of dividing cells and an increase in senescence-associated β-galactosidase. The hearts of aged individuals were characterized by fibrosis and lipofuscin deposition. There was also a loss of pigmented cells from the retinal epithelium. By contrast, age-associated changes were not apparent in skeletal muscle, the ocular lens, or the brain.
The results provide a set of markers that can be used to trace the process of normal tissue aging in medaka and to evaluate the effect of environmental stressors.
Comparison between related species is a successful approach to uncover conserved and divergent principles of development. Here, we studied the pattern of epithalamic asymmetry in zebrafish (Danio rerio) and medaka (Oryzias latipes), two related teleost species with 115–200 Myr of independent evolution. We found that these species share a strikingly conserved overall pattern of asymmetry in the parapineal–habenular–interpeduncular system. Nodal signalling exhibits comparable spatial and temporal asymmetric expressions in the presumptive epithalamus preceding the development of morphological asymmetries. Neuroanatomical asymmetries consist of left-sided asymmetric positioning and connectivity of the parapineal organ, enlargement of neuropil in the left habenula compared with the right habenula and segregation of left–right habenular efferents along the dorsoventral axis of the interpeduncular nucleus. Despite the overall conservation of asymmetry, we observed heterotopic changes in the topology of parapineal efferent connectivity, heterochronic shifts in the timing of developmental events underlying the establishment of asymmetry and divergent degrees of canalization of embryo laterality. We offer new tools for developmental time comparison among species and propose, for each of these transformations, novel hypotheses of ontogenic mechanisms that explain interspecies variations that can be tested experimentally. Together, these findings highlight the usefulness of zebrafish and medaka as comparative models to study the developmental mechanisms of epithalamic asymmetry in vertebrates.
brain asymmetry; development; teleosts; laterality; epithalamus; heterochrony
Patients suffering from Usher syndrome (USH) exhibit sensorineural hearing loss, retinitis pigmentosa (RP) and, in some cases, vestibular dysfunction. USH is the most common genetic disorder affecting hearing and vision and is included in a group of hereditary pathologies associated with defects in ciliary function known as ciliopathies. This syndrome is clinically classified into three types: USH1, USH2 and USH3. USH2 accounts for well over one-half of all Usher cases and mutations in the USH2A gene are responsible for the majority of USH2 cases, but also for atypical Usher syndrome and recessive non-syndromic RP. Because medaka fish (Oryzias latypes) is an attractive model organism for genetic-based studies in biomedical research, we investigated the expression and function of the USH2A ortholog in this teleost species. Ol-Ush2a encodes a protein of 5.445 aa codons, containing the same motif arrangement as the human USH2A. Ol-Ush2a is expressed during early stages of medaka fish development and persists into adulthood. Temporal Ol-Ush2a expression analysis using whole mount in situ hybridization (WMISH) on embryos at different embryonic stages showed restricted expression to otoliths and retina, suggesting that Ol-Ush2a might play a conserved role in the development and/or maintenance of retinal photoreceptors and cochlear hair cells. Knockdown of Ol-Ush2a in medaka fish caused embryonic developmental defects (small eyes and heads, otolith malformations and shortened bodies with curved tails) resulting in late embryo lethality. These embryonic defects, observed in our study and in other ciliary disorders, are associated with defective cell movement specifically implicated in left-right (LR) axis determination and planar cell polarity (PCP).
The adverse effects of alcohol on the developing humans represent a spectrum of structural and neurobehavioral abnormalities, most appropriately termed as fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). The mechanism by which ethanol induces FASD is unknown. Human studies of FASD are very limited due to ethical constraints; however, several animal models from nematodes to mammals are utilized to understand the molecular mechanism of this disorder. We have used Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) embryo-larval development as a unique non-mammalian model to study the molecular mechanism of FASD. Fertilized medaka eggs were exposed to ethanol (0-400 mM) for 48 hour post fertilization (hpf) and then maintained in regular embryo rearing medium without ethanol. Viable embryos were harvested on 0, 2, 4 and 6 day post fertilization (dpf) and analyzed for DNA, RNA and protein contents of the embryos. By applying semi-quantitative RT-PCR (rRT-PCR) and quantitative real-time RT-PCR (qRT-PCR), RNA samples were further analyzed for seven transcription factors, emx2, en2, iro3, otx2, shh, wnt1 and zic5 which are expressed in the neural tube of medaka embryo during early phase of development. RNA and protein contents of the embryos were significantly reduced by ethanol at 400 mM dose on 4 and 6 dpf compared to the control (no ethanol), and 100 mM ethanol treated embryos. However, significant reduction of DNA was observed only in 4dpf embryos. Total protein contents of yolk remained unaltered after ethanol treatment. Expression pattern of emx2, en2, iro3, otx2, shh, wnt1, and zic5 mRNAs were found to be developmentally regulated, however, remained unaltered after ethanol treatment. It is therefore concluded that alteration of nucleic acid and protein contents of medaka embryo by ethanol could be used as an indicator of embryonic growth retardation which might be the result of disruption of specific gene function during development.
Alcohol; Japanese medaka; Development; DNA; RNA; protein; transcription factors
Substituted ureas and carbamates are mechanistic inhibitors of the soluble epoxide hydrolase (sEH). We screened a set of chemicals containing these functionalities in larval fathead minnow (Pimphales promelas) and embryo/larval golden medaka (Oryzias latipes) models to evaluate the utility of these systems for investigating sEH inhibition in vivo. Both fathead minnow and medaka sEHs were functionally similar to the tested mammalian orthologs (murine and human) with respect to substrate hydrolysis and inhibitor susceptibility. Low lethality was observed in either larval or embryonic fish exposed to diuron [N-(3,4-dichlorophenyl), N'-dimethyl urea], desmethyl diuron [N-(3,4-dichlorophenyl), N'-methyl urea], or siduron [N-(1-methylcyclohexyl), N'-phenyl urea]. Dose-dependent inhibition of sEH was a sublethal effect of substituted urea exposure with the potency of siduron < desmethyl diuron = diuron, differing from the observed in vitro sEH inhibition potency of siduron > desmethyl diuron > diuron. Further, siduron exposure synergized the toxicity of trans-stilbene oxide in fathead minnows. Medaka embryos exposed to diuron, desmethyl diuron, or siduron displayed dose-dependent delays in hatch, and elevated concentrations of diuron and desmethyl diuron produced developmental toxicity. The dose-dependent toxicity and in vivo sEH inhibition correlated, suggesting a potential, albeit undefined, relationship between these factors. Additionally, the observed inversion of in vitro to in vivo potency suggests that these fish models may provide tools for investigating the in vivo stability of in vitro inhibitors while screening for untoward effects.