Regulation of fish gonadotropins

Zvi Yaron*, Gal Gur, Philippa Melamed, Hanna Rosenfeld, Abigail Elizur, Berta Levavi-Sivan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

367 Scopus citations


Neurohormones similar to those of mammals are carried in fish by hypothalamic nerve fibers to regulate directly follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and luteinizing hormone (LH). Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) stimulates the secretion of FSH and LH and the expression of the glycoprotein hormone α (GPα), FSHβ, and LHβ, as well as their secretion. Its signal transduction leading to LH release is similar to that in mammals although the involvement of cyclic AMP-protein kinase A (cAMP-PKA) cannot be ruled out. Dopamine (DA) acting through DA D2 type receptors may inhibit LH release, but not that of FSH, at sites distal to activation of protein kinase C (PKC) and PKA. GnRH increases the steady-state levels of GPα, LHβ, and FSHβ mRNAs. Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) 38 and neuropeptide Y (NPY) potentiate GnRH effect on gonadotropic cells, and also act directly on the pituitary cells. Whereas PACAP increases all three subunit mRNAs, NPY has no effect on that of FSHβ. The effect of these peptides on the expression of the gonadotropin subunit genes is transduced differentially; GnRH regulates GPα and LHβ via PKC-ERK and PKA-ERK cascades, while affecting the FSHβ transcript through a PKA-dependent but ERK-independent cascade. The signals of both NPY and PACAP are transduced via PKC and PKA, each converging at the ERK level. NPY regulates only GPα- and LHβ-subunit genes whereas PACAP regulates the FSHβ subunit as well. Like those of the mammalian counterparts, the coho salmon LHβ gene promoter is driven by a strong proximal tripartite element to which three different transcription factors bind. These include Sf-1 and Pitx-1 as in mammals, but the function of the Egr-1 appears to have been replaced by the estrogen receptor (ER). The GnRH responsive region in tilapia FSHβ 5′ flanking region spans the canonical AP1 and CRE motifs implicating both elements in conferring GnRH responsiveness. Generally, high levels of gonadal steroids are associated with high LHβ transcript levels whereas those of FSHβ are reduced when pituitary cells are exposed to high steroid levels. Gonadal or hypophyseal activin also participate in the regulation of FSHβ and LHβ mRNA levels. However, gonadal effects are dependent on the gender and stage of maturity of the fish.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)131-185
Number of pages55
JournalInternational Review of Cytology
StatePublished - 2003

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  • Activin
  • Arachidonic acid
  • CAMP
  • Calmodulin
  • ERE
  • ERK
  • Egr-1
  • Estradiol
  • FSH
  • GnRH
  • Inhibin
  • LH
  • MAPK
  • MRNA
  • Molecular evolution
  • NPY
  • Oreochromis
  • Pituitary
  • Promoter
  • Ptx-1
  • Sf-1
  • Testosterone


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