Key Laboratory of Tropical & Subtropical Fisheries Resource Application & Cultivation, Ministry of Agriculture, Pearl River Fisheries Institute, Chinese Academy of Fishery Sciences, Guangzhou 510380, China; College of Fisheries and Life Science, Shanghai Ocean University, Shanghai 201306, China. Electronic address: [Email]
Doublesex and Mab-3 related transcription factor (Dmrt) genes play important roles in the process of sex determination and differentiation. In this study, a Dmrt1 gene open reading frame sequence was obtained from the gonadal transcriptome data of largemouth bass (Micropterus salmoides), and identified by cloning and sequencing. The ORF of Dmrt1 is 900 bp long, encodes 298 amino acids, and contains the DM region which is characteristic of Dmrt1. Full gDNA sequence of Dmrt1 was composed of five exons and four introns. RT-PCR and Q-PCR analysis of Dmrt1 were conducted in eight tissues and three developmental stages of mature male and female individuals. In situ hybridization was used to locate the expression of Dmrt1 in the testis and ovary of largemouth bass. The results showed that Dmrt1 was highly expressed in the testis of mature fish, but only weakly expressed in other tissues such as heart, liver, and brain, and exhibited gender dimorphism in the gonads of male and female fish at different stages. Furthermore, the expression level in female fish was very low and decreased gradually with ovary maturation. In situ hybridization indicated positive signals were found in early oocytes, but not in mature oocytes, while strong positive signals were found in all types of mature testis cells. The study showed that the sequence and structure of Dmrt1 were highly conserved and exhibited significant gender dimorphism in largemouth bass, as in other fish species. It is suggested that Dmrt1 plays an important role in sex determination and differentiation in largemouth bass.