Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(3):328-343. doi:10.7150/ijbs.3517

Research Paper

Gene Expression Profiling of the Cephalothorax and Eyestalk in Penaeus Monodon during Ovarian Maturation

Philip Brady1,2, Abigail Elizur1,3✉, Richard Williams2, Scott F. Cummins 3, Wayne Knibb3

1. The Queensland Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries, Animal Science, Bribie Island, Queensland 4507, Australia.
2. School of Land, Crop and Food Sciences, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Queensland 4072, Australia.
3. Faculty of Science, Health and Education, University of the Sunshine Coast, Maroochydore, Queensland 4558, Australia.

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Brady P, Elizur A, Williams R, Cummins SF, Knibb W. Gene Expression Profiling of the Cephalothorax and Eyestalk in Penaeus Monodon during Ovarian Maturation. Int J Biol Sci 2012; 8(3):328-343. doi:10.7150/ijbs.3517. Available from

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In crustaceans, a range of physiological processes involved in ovarian maturation occurs in organs of the cephalothorax including the hepatopancrease, mandibular and Y-organ. Additionally, reproduction is regulated by neuropeptide hormones and other proteins released from secretory sites within the eyestalk. Reproductive dysfunction in captive-reared prawns, Penaeus monodon, is believed to be due to deficiencies in these factors. In this study, we investigated the expression of gene transcripts in the cephalothorax and eyestalk from wild-caught and captive-reared animals throughout ovarian maturation using custom oligonucleotide microarray screening. We have isolated numerous transcripts that appear to be differentially expressed throughout ovarian maturation and between wild-caught and captive-reared animals. In the cephalothorax, differentially expressed genes included the 1,3-β-D-glucan-binding high-density lipoprotein, 2/3-oxoacyl-CoA thiolase and vitellogenin. In the eyestalk, these include gene transcripts that encode a protein that modulates G-protein coupled receptor activity and another that encodes an architectural transcription factor. Each may regulate the expression of reproductive neuropeptides, such as the crustacean hyperglycaemic hormone and molt-inhibiting hormone. We could not identify differentially expressed transcripts encoding known reproductive neuropeptides in the eyestalk of either wild-caught or captive-reared prawns at any ovarian maturation stage, however, this result may be attributed to low relative expression levels of these transcripts. In summary, this study provides a foundation for the study of target genes involved in regulating penaeid reproduction.

Keywords: Penaeus monodon, prawn, cephalothorax, eyestalk, ovarian maturation, gene expression, microarray.