Publications

2021
Ishwar Atre, Naama Mizrahi, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2021. “Characteristics of Neurokinin-3 Receptor and Its Binding Sites by Mutational Analysis.” Biology (Basel), 10, 10. Abstract
NKB (Neurokinin B) is already known to play a crucial role in fish reproduction, but little is known about the structure and function of NKB receptors. Based on an model of the tilapia NKB receptor Tachykinin 3 receptor a (tiTac3Ra) found in the current study, we determined the key residues involved in binding to tilapia NKB and its functional homologue NKF (Neurokinin F). Despite studies in humans suggesting the crucial role of F251 and M289 in NKB binding, no direct peptide interaction was observed in tilapia homologs. , Ala mutations on residues F251 and M289 did not influence binding affinity, but significantly affected the stability of tiTac3Ra. Moreover, studies indicated them to be critical to tiNKB/tiNKF-induced receptor activity. The binding of NKB antagonists to tiTac3Ra both and inhibits FSH (follicle stimulating hormone) and LH (luteinizing hormone) release and sperm production in mature tilapia males. Non-peptide NKB antagonist SB-222200 had a strong inhibitory effect on the Tac3Ra activation. SB-222200 also decreased LH plasma levels; two hours post intraperitoneal injection, changed sperm volume and the ratios of the different stages along the spermatogenesis in tilapia testes.
Lian Hollander-Cohen, Matan Golan, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2021. “Differential Regulation of Gonadotropins as Revealed by Transcriptomes of Distinct LH and FSH Cells of Fish Pituitary.” Int J Mol Sci, 22, 12. Abstract
From mammals to fish, reproduction is driven by luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) temporally secreted from the pituitary gland. Teleost fish are an excellent model for addressing the unique regulation and function of each gonadotropin cell since, unlike mammals, they synthesize and secrete LH and FSH from distinct cells. Only very distant vertebrate classes (such as fish and birds) demonstrate the mono-hormonal strategy, suggesting a potential convergent evolution. Cell-specific transcriptome analysis of double-labeled transgenic tilapia expressing GFP and RFP in LH or FSH cells, respectively, yielded genes specifically enriched in each cell type, revealing differences in hormone regulation, receptor expression, cell signaling, and electrical properties. Each cell type expresses a unique GPCR signature that reveals the direct regulation of metabolic and homeostatic hormones. Comparing these novel transcriptomes to that of rat gonadotrophs revealed conserved genes that might specifically contribute to each gonadotropin activity in mammals, suggesting conserved mechanisms controlling the differential regulation of gonadotropins in vertebrates.
Miranda Marvel, Berta Levavi-Sivan, Ten-Tsao Wong, Nilli Zmora, and Yonathan Zohar. 2021. “Gnrh2 maintains reproduction in fasting zebrafish through dynamic neuronal projection changes and regulation of gonadotropin synthesis, oogenesis, and reproductive behaviors.” Sci Rep, 11, 1, Pp. 6657. Abstract
Restricted food intake, either from lack of food sources or endogenous fasting, during reproductive periods is a widespread phenomenon across the animal kingdom. Considering previous studies show the canonical upstream regulator of reproduction in vertebrates, the hypothalamic Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gnrh), is inhibited in some fasting animals, we sought to understand the neuroendocrine control of reproduction in fasted states. Here, we explore the roles of the midbrain neuropeptide, Gnrh2, in inducing reproduction via its pituitary prevalence, gonadotropin synthesis, gametogenesis, and reproductive outputs in the zebrafish model undergoing different feeding regimes. We discovered a fasting-induced four-fold increase in length and abundance of Gnrh2 neuronal projections to the pituitary and in close proximity to gonadotropes, whereas the hypothalamic Gnrh3 neurons are reduced by six-fold in length. Subsequently, we analyzed the functional roles of Gnrh2 by comparing reproductive parameters of a Gnrh2-depleted model, gnrh2, to wild-type zebrafish undergoing different feeding conditions. We found that Gnrh2 depletion in fasted states compromises spawning success, with associated decreases in gonadotropin production, oogenesis, fecundity, and male courting behavior. Gnrh2 neurons do not compensate in other circumstances by which Gnrh3 is depleted, such as in gnrh3 zebrafish, implying that Gnrh2 acts to induce reproduction specifically in fasted zebrafish.
Ishwar Atre, Naama Mizrahi, Krist Hausken, Svetlana Yom-Din, Avshalom Hurvitz, Gad Degani, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2021. “Molecular characterization of kisspeptin receptors and gene expression analysis during oogenesis in the Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii).” Gen Comp Endocrinol, 302, Pp. 113691. Abstract
Sturgeons belong to a subclass of fishes that derived from ray-finned fish ancestors preceding the emergence of teleosts. The Russian sturgeon (Acipenser gueldenstaedtii) is a late-maturing fish with the females reaching puberty under aquaculture conditions at 6-10 years of age. Since kisspeptin has been shown to be a key hormone involved in regulation of major reproductive processes of many vertebrate species, this study was conducted to better understand the kisspeptin receptor (KissR) in sturgeon. In this study we have cloned Russian sturgeon KissR1 from brain mRNA and observed the ontogeny of rsKissR1 mRNA expression in ovarian follicles. Multiple sequence alignment of KissR1, KissR4, and their orthologs revealed that the Russian sturgeon (rs) KissR1 sequence shares 64%-77% identity with elephant shark, coelacanth, and gar and 44-58% identity with tetrapod and teleost KissR1 sequences, while KissR4 seemed to share <65% identity to eel KissR2 and ~57% identity to Perciformes and Cypriniformes. Further rsKissR4 showed <97% identity to reed fish KissR4, <63% with Squamata (Reptiles) and gar KissR4. A phylogenetic analysis revealed that rsKissR1 is more closely related to coelacanth and gar KissR1 than teleost, while rsKissR4 was part of the KissR4 clade and shared higher similarity with Actinopterygiian sequences. We have further predicted homology models for both rsKiss receptors and performed in-silico analyses of their binding to a kiss-10 peptide. Both sturgeon and zebrafish Kiss1 and Kiss2 activated rsKissR1 via both PKC/Ca2+ and PKA/cAMP signal-transduction pathways, while rsKissR2 was found to be less effective and was not activated by stKiss peptides. Ovarian rsKissR transcript levels for 10 fishes were determined by real-time PCR and significantly increased concomitantly with oogenesis, where the highest level of expression was evident in black follicles. These data suggest that extra-neuronal expression of the kisspeptin receptor may be involved in sturgeon reproduction in a manner dependent on reproductive development.
2020
Michelle Thönnes, Marlen Vogt, Katja Steinborn, Krist N Hausken, Berta Levavi-Sivan, Alexander Froschauer, and Frank Pfennig. 2020. “An Approach to Study Hormonal Control of Spermatogenesis in the Teleost .” Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 11, Pp. 443. Abstract
As the male reproductive organ, the main task of the testis is the production of fertile, haploid spermatozoa. This process, named spermatogenesis, starts with spermatogonial stem cells, which undergo a species-specific number of mitotic divisions until starting meiosis and further morphological maturation. The pituitary gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone, are indispensable for vertebrate spermatogenesis, but we are still far from fully understanding the complex regulatory networks involved in this process. Therefore, we developed an testis cultivation system which allows evaluating the occurring changes in histology and gene expression. The experimental circulatory flow-through setup described in this work provides the possibility to study the function of the male tilapia gonads on a cellular and transcriptional level for at least 7 days. After 1 week of culture, tilapia testis slices kept their structure and all stages of spermatogenesis could be detected histologically. Without pituitary extract (tilPE) however, fibrotic structures appeared, whereas addition of tilPE preserved spermatogenic cysts and somatic interstitium completely. We could show that tilPE has a stimulatory effect on spermatogonia proliferation in our culture system. In the presence of tilPE or hCG, the gene expression of steroidogenesis related genes ( and ) were notably increased. Other testicular genes like , or were not expressed differentially in the presence or absence of gonadotropins or gonadotropin containing tilPE. We established a suitable system for studying tilapia spermatogenesis with promise for future applications.
Susann Burow, Naama Mizrahi, Gersende Maugars, Kristine von Krogh, Rasoul Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Lian Hollander-Cohen, Michal Shpilman, Ishwar Atre, Finn-Arne Weltzien, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2020. “Characterization of gonadotropin receptors Fshr and Lhr in Japanese medaka, Oryzias latipes.” Gen Comp Endocrinol, 285, Pp. 113276. Abstract
Reproduction in vertebrates is controlled by the brain-pituitary-gonad axis, where the two gonadotropins follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) and luteinizing hormone (Lh) play vital parts by activating their cognate receptors in the gonads. The main purpose of this work was to study intra- and interspecies ligand promiscuity of teleost gonadotropin receptors, since teleost receptor specificity is unclear, in contrast to mammalian receptors. Receptor activation was investigated by transfecting COS-7 cells with either Fsh receptor (mdFshr, tiFshr) or Lh receptor (mdLhr, tiLhr), and tested for activation by recombinant homologous and heterologous ligands (mdFshβα, mdLhβα, tiFshβα, tiLhβα) from two representative fish orders, Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes, Beloniformes) and Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus, Cichliformes). Results showed that each gonadotropin preferentially activates its own cognate receptor. Cross-reactivity was detected to some extent as mdFshβα was able to activate the mdLhr, and mdLhβα the mdFshr. Medaka pituitary extract (MPE) stimulated CRE-LUC activity in COS-7 cells expressing mdlhr, but could not stimulate cells expressing mdfshr. Recombinant tiLhβα, tiFshβα and tilapia pituitary extract (TPE) could activate the mdLhr, suggesting cross-species reactivity for mdLhr. Cross-species reactivity was also detected for mdFshr due to activation by tiFshβα, tiLhβα, and TPE, as well as for tiFshr and tiLhr due to stimulation by mdFshβα, mdLhβα, and MPE. Tissue distribution analysis of gene expression revealed that medaka receptors, fshr and lhr, are highly expressed in both ovary and testis. High expression levels were found for lhr also in brain, while fshr was expressed at low levels. Both fshr and lhr mRNA levels increased significantly during testis development. Amino acid sequence alignment and three-dimensional modelling of ligands and receptors highlighted conserved beta sheet domains of both Fsh and Lh between Japanese medaka and Nile tilapia. It also showed a higher structural homology and similarity of transmembrane regions of Lhr between both species, in contrast to Fshr, possibly related to the substitution of the conserved cysteine residue in the transmembrane domain 6 in medaka Fshr with glycine. Taken together, this is the first characterization of medaka Fshr and Lhr using homologous ligands, enabling to better understand teleost hormone-receptor interactions and specificities. The data suggest partial ligand promiscuity and cross-species reactivity between gonadotropins and their receptors in medaka and tilapia.
Chor Hong Lim, Tomoko Soga, Berta Levavi-Sivan, and Ishwar S Parhar. 2020. “Chronic Social Defeat Stress Up-Regulates Spexin in the Brain of Nile Tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus).” Sci Rep, 10, 1, Pp. 7666. Abstract
Spexin (SPX), a neuropeptide evolutionarily conserved from fish to mammals, is widely distributed in the brain and peripheral tissues and associated with various physiological functions. Recently SPX has been suggested to be involved in neurological mechanism of stress. The current study investigates the involvement of SPX in chronic social defeat stress, using male teleost, the Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) as an animal model due to its distinct social hierarchy of dominant and subordinate relationship. The tilapia genome has SPX1a and SPX1b but has no SPX2. In the Nile tilapia, we localized SPX1a and SPX1b in the brain using in-situ hybridization. Next, using qPCR we examined gene expression of SPX1a and SPX1b in chronically stress (socially defeated) fish. SPX1a expressing cells were localized in the semicircular torus of the midbrain region and SPX1b expressing cells in the telencephalon. Chronically stress fish showed elevated plasma cortisol levels; with an upregulation of SPX1a and SPX1b gene expression in the brain compared to non-stress (control) fish. Since social defeat is a source of stress, the upregulated SPX mRNA levels during social defeat suggests SPX as a potentially inhibitory neuropeptide capable of causing detrimental changes in behaviour and physiology.
As far as we know this is the first report on bulking agent injection into intravesical ectopic ejaculatory orifices reported in the English literature. During a follow-up period of 23 months, the child was free of episodes of epididymo-orchitis. Deflux injection in this rare anomaly of intravesical refluxing ducts had prevented irreversible damage to the testes from recurrent EO. Thus, it may be a better option than vasectomy when antibiotic treatment fails.
Talya Etzion, Nilli Zmora, Yonatan Zohar, Berta Levavi-Sivan, Matan Golan, and Yoav Gothilf. 2020. “Ectopic over expression of kiss1 may compensate for the loss of kiss2.” Gen Comp Endocrinol, 295, Pp. 113523. Abstract
Kisspeptin (KISS) is a neuropeptide which plays a central role in the regulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis, and is essential for sexual maturation and fertility in mammals. Unlike mammals, which possess only one KISS gene, two paralogous genes, kiss1 and kiss2, have been identified in zebrafish and other non-mammalian vertebrates. Previous studies suggest that Kiss2, but not Kiss1, is the reproduction relevant form amongst the two. To better understand the role of each of these isoforms in reproduction, a loss of function approach was applied. Two genetic manipulation techniques-clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats (CRISPR) and transcription activator-like effector nucleases (TALEN)-were used to generate kiss1 and kiss2 knockout (KO) zebrafish lines, respectively. Examination of these KO lines showed that reproductive capability was not impaired, confirming earlier observations. Further analysis revealed that KO of kiss2 caused a significant increase in expression levels of kiss1, kiss2r and tac3a, while KO of kiss1 had no effect on the expression of any of the examined genes. In situ hybridization analysis revealed that kiss1 mRNA is expressed only in the habenula in wild type brains, while in kiss2 KO fish, kiss1 mRNA-expressing cells were identified also in the ventral telencephalon, the ventral part of the entopeduncular nucleus, and the dorsal and ventral hypothalamus. Interestingly, these regions are known to express kiss2r, and the ventral hypothalamus normally expresses kiss2. These results suggest that a compensatory mechanism, involving ectopic kiss1 expression, takes place in the kiss2 KO fish, which may substitute for Kiss2 activity.
G Molés, K Hausken, M Carrillo, S Zanuy, B Levavi-Sivan, and A Gómez. 2020. “Generation and use of recombinant gonadotropins in fish.” Gen Comp Endocrinol, 299, Pp. 113555. Abstract
Understanding the differential roles of the pituitary gonadotropins Fsh and Lh in gonad maturation is crucial for a successful manipulation of the reproductive process in fish, and requires species-specific tools and appropriate active hormones. With the increasing availability of fish cDNAs coding for gonadotropin subunits, the production of recombinant hormones in heterologous systems has gradually substituted the approach of isolating native hormones. These recombinant hormones can be continually produced without depending on the fish as starting material and no cross-contamination with other pituitary glycoproteins is assured. Recombinant gonadotropins should be produced in eukaryotic cells, which have glycosylation capacity, but this post-translational modification varies greatly depending on the cell system, influencing hormone activity and stability. The production of recombinant gonadotropin beta-subunits to be used as antigens for antibody production has allowed the development of immunoassays for quantification of gonadotropins in some fish species. The administration in vivo of dimeric homologous recombinant gonadotropins has been used in basic studies and as a biotechnological approach to induce gametogenesis. In addition, gene-based therapies using somatic transfer of the gonadotropin genes have been tested as an alternative for hormone delivery in vivo. In summary, the use of homologous hormonal treatments can open new strategies in aquaculture to solve reproductive problems or develop out-of-season breeding programs.
Ishwar Atre, Naama Mizrahi, Elena Santidrian Yebra-Pimentel, Krist Hausken, Svetlana Yom-Din, Avshalom Hurvitz, Ron Dirks, Gad Degani, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2020. “Molecular characterization of two Russian sturgeon gonadotropin receptors: Cloning, expression analysis, and functional activity.” Gen Comp Endocrinol, 298, Pp. 113557. Abstract
Sturgeons are being used in aquaculture because wild populations are now endangered due to overfishing for caviar. A challenge in working with sturgeon as an aquacultured species is its long and slow reproductive development. Reproduction is a hormonally regulated process that involves hierarchical signaling between the brain, pituitary gland, and gonads. In an effort to better understand the hormonal regulation of sturgeon reproduction, we have cloned the Russian sturgeon (st), Acipenser gueldenstaedtii, luteinizing hormone receptor (stLHR) and follicle stimulating hormone receptor (stFSHR) and measured their expression from previtellogenic to mature ovarian follicles. Sturgeon LHR and FSHR expression was elevated in early-vitellogenic and mature follicles compared with pre-vitellogenic and mid-vitellogenic follicles, and only LHR expression increased during late-vitellogenesis. Recombinant sturgeon FSH and LH both activated sturgeon LHR and FSHR in a cAMP reporter assay. Further molecular characterization of these receptors was accomplished by in silico modeling and cAMP reporter assays using heterologous recombinant gonadotropins from human and piscine species. There was no apparent trend in heterologous LH and/or FSH activation of the sturgeon LHR or FSHR. These data suggest that permissive activation of LHR and FSHR are a consequence of some yet undetermined biological characteristic(s) of different piscine species.
Sody A Naimer and Bezalel Sivan. 2020. “Post Circumcision Corona Obliteration.” J Pediatr Urol, 16, 3, Pp. 389.e1-389.e5. Abstract
OBJECTIVE: Abnormal healing after neonatal ritual circumcision is a source of significant concern to patients' parents and their caregivers. This report presents a series of male infants who underwent ritual circumcision and subsequently developed obliteration of the normally distinct structure of the corona. METHODS: We report a case series of infants recruited from the community and a medical center. The compulsory inclusion criterion was absence of the normal landmarks of the glans penis with confirmed integrity of normal male genitalia. Illustrative cases are presented. The possible pathogenetic mechanisms leading to this condition are discussed. A literature search was conducted to discern whether this phenomenon has ever been previously reported. RESULTS: The eight cases we diagnosed were all otherwise normal. In one case, where we discovered use of an active substance on the circumcision wound, the condition persisted for an extended period but it resolved completely by 15 months of age. In all but one of the subjects the condition was transient and resolved over time. We could not reveal any previous publication on this topic. DISCUSSION: This noteworthy complication of circumcision raises debate whether it was previously existent, though unreported or a novel phenomenon. We postulate that contributing factors leading to tissue injury may possibly be injured tissue exposure to irritating substances, vascular compromise, the technique chosen to control bleeding or an idiosyncratic response to tissue trauma. More attention to the occurrence of this phenomenon is compulsory to collect more data and learn of its incidence and eventual impact. CONCLUSIONS: Obliteration of the corona, constitutes an unreported, rare albeit significant complication following circumcision. We recommend refraining from potentially inciting factors leading to this undesirable condition. More extensive experience with this disorder may enable us to employ preventive measures to eliminate it or at least provide reassurance wherever possible.
Yaron Cohen, Krist Hausken, Yoav Bonfil, Michael Gutnick, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2020. “Spexin and a Novel Cichlid-Specific Spexin Paralog Both Inhibit FSH and LH Through a Specific Galanin Receptor (Galr2b) in Tilapia.” Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 11, Pp. 71. Abstract
Spexin (SPX) is a 14 amino acid peptide hormone that has pleiotropic functions across vertebrates, one of which is involvement in the brain-pituitary-gonad axis of fish. SPX(1) has been identified in each class of vertebrates, and a second SPX (named SPX2) has been found in some non-mammalian species. We have cloned two spexin paralogs, designated as Spx1a and Spx1b, from Nile tilapia () that have varying tissue distribution patterns. Spx1b is a novel peptide only identified in cichlid fish, and is more closely related to Spx1 than Spx2 homologs as supported by phylogenetic, synteny, and functional analyses. Kisspeptin, Spx, and galanin (Gal) peptides and their corresponding kiss receptors and Gal receptors (Galrs), respectively, are evolutionarily related. Cloning of six tilapia Galrs (Galr1a, Galr1b, Galr2a, Galr2b, Galr type 1, and Galr type 2) and subsequent second-messenger reporter assays for Gα, Gα, and Gα suggests that Gal and Spx activate Galr1a/Galr2a and Galr2b, respectively. A decrease in plasma follicle stimulating hormone and luteinizing hormone concentrations was observed with injections of Spx1a or Spx1b . Additionally, application of Spx1a and Spx1b to pituitary slices decreased the firing rate of LH cells, suggesting that the peptides can act directly at the level of the pituitary. These data collectively suggest an inhibitory mechanism of action against the secretion of gonadotropins for a traditional and a novel spexin paralog in cichlid species.
2019
Susann Burow, Romain Fontaine, Kristine von Krogh, Ian Mayer, Rasoul Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Lian Hollander-Cohen, Yaron Cohen, Michal Shpilman, Berta Levavi-Sivan, and Finn-Arne Weltzien. 2019. “Data on Western blot and ELISA analysis of medaka () follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) and luteinizing hormone (Lh) using recombinant proteins expressed with .” Data Brief, 22, Pp. 1057-1063. Abstract
The gonadotropins follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) and luteinizing hormone (Lh) play essential roles in vertebrate reproduction. This article presents data on molecular weight validation of recombinant medaka () (md) gonadotropins Fshβ (mdFshβ), Lhβ (mdLhβ), Fshβα (mdFshβα), and Lhβα (mdLhβα) generated by as well as data on a validation of produced antibodies against Fshβ and Lhβ by Western blot analysis. Furthermore, the article includes data on Fsh and Lh protein levels in male medaka pituitaries using recombinant mdFshβα and mdLhβα within enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs), in which protein amounts were analyzed related to body weight and age of the fish. This dataset is associated with the research article entitled "Medaka Follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) and Luteinizing hormone (Lh): Developmental profiles of pituitary protein and gene expression" (Burow et al., in press).
Naama Mizrahi, Chaim Gilon, Ishwar Atre, Satoshi Ogawa, Ishwar S Parhar, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2019. “Deciphering Direct and Indirect Effects of Neurokinin B and GnRH in the Brain-Pituitary Axis of Tilapia.” Front Endocrinol (Lausanne), 10, Pp. 469. Abstract
Neurokinin B (NKB) and its cognate receptor (NK3R) are emerging as important components of the neuroendocrine regulation of reproduction. Unlike mammalian , which encodes only one mature peptide (namely NKB), two mature peptides are predicted for each gene in fish and frogs. Therefore, it was designated as Neurokinin F (NKF). Hormone analogs with high and long-lasting biological activity are important tools for physiological and biological research; however, the availability of piscine-specific analogs is very limited. Therefore, we have developed specific NKB and NKF analogs based on the structure of the mammalian NKB analog-senktide. These analogs, specifically designed for longer half-lives by methylation of proteolysis sites, exhibited activity equal to those of the native NKB and NKF in short-term signal-transduction assays of tilapia NKB receptors. However, the analogs were found to be able to significantly increase the release of luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH) and growth hormone (GH) in tilapia, as fast as 1 h after intraperitoneal (IP) injection. The impact of the analogs on LH and FSH secretion lasted longer compared to the effect of native peptides and salmon GnRH analog (sGnRHa). In addition, we harvested pituitaries 24 h post injection and measured LH, FSH and GH mRNA synthesis. Both analogs elevated mRNA levels of LH and GH, but only NKB analog increased FSH mRNA levels in the pituitary and all GnRH forms in the brain. NKB receptors were co-localized with all three types the GnRH neurons in tilapia brain . We previously showed a direct effect of NKB at the pituitary level, and these new results suggest that the stronger impact of the NKB analog on GTH release is also due to an indirect effect through the activation of GnRH neurons. These results suggest that novel synthetic NKB analogs may serve as a tool for both research and agricultural purposes. Finally, the biological activity and regulatory role of NKB in tilapia brain and pituitary suggest that the NKB/NKBR system in fish is an important reproductive regulator in a similar way to the kisspeptin system in mammals.
Susann Burow, Romain Fontaine, Kristine von Krogh, Ian Mayer, Rasoul Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Lian Hollander-Cohen, Yaron Cohen, Michal Shpilman, Berta Levavi-Sivan, and Finn-Arne Weltzien. 2019. “Establishment of specific enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) for measuring Fsh and Lh levels in medaka (), using recombinant gonadotropins.” MethodsX, 6, Pp. 1473-1479. Abstract
The paucity of information on understanding the regulatory mechanisms that are involved in the control of piscine Fsh and Lh synthesis, secretion, and function, prompted the present work. Part of the problem is related to the molecular heterogeneity and the unavailability of Fsh and Lh assays for quantifying gonadotropins, in particular assays regarding the measurement of Fsh, and such assays are available today for only a few teleost species. The present study reports the development and validation of competitive ELISAs for quantitative determination of medaka Fsh and Lh by first producing medaka recombinant (md) gonadotropins mdFshβ, mdLhβ, mdFshβα, and mdLhβα by generating specific antibodies against their respective β subunits, and their use within the development of ELISAs. The advantages of this protocol include: •The reproducibility of the ELISA demonstrated was relatively high, as shown by reasonably low intra- (Fsh 2.7%, Lh 3%) and interassay CVs (Fsh 5.3%, Lh 5.7%).•The high degree of parallelism between serial dilutions of the recombinant and native pituitary-derived Fsh and Lh, may be a sign of similar structures and immunologically similarity.•Two new competitive ELISAs for the quantification of medaka Fsh and Lh were established for the first time.
Susann Burow, Romain Fontaine, Kristine von Krogh, Ian Mayer, Rasoul Nourizadeh-Lillabadi, Lian Hollander-Cohen, Yaron Cohen, Michal Shpilman, Berta Levavi-Sivan, and Finn-Arne Weltzien. 2019. “Medaka follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) and luteinizing hormone (Lh): Developmental profiles of pituitary protein and gene expression levels.” Gen Comp Endocrinol, 272, Pp. 93-108. Abstract
The two gonadotropins follicle-stimulating hormone (Fsh) and luteinizing hormone (Lh) are of particular importance within the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal (HPG) axis of vertebrates. In the current study, we demonstrate the production and validation of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) recombinant (md) gonadotropins Fshβ (mdFshβ), Lhβ (mdLhβ), Fshβα (mdFshβα), and Lhβα (mdLhβα) by Pichia pastoris, the generation of specific rabbit antibodies against their respective β subunits, and their use within the development and validation of competitive enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays (ELISAs) for quantification of medaka Fsh and Lh. mdFsh and mdLh were produced as single-chain polypeptides by linking the α subunit with mdFshβ or mdLhβ mature protein coding sequences to produce a "tethered" polypeptide with the β-chain at the N-terminal and the α-chain at the C-terminal. The specificity of the antibodies raised against mdFshβ and mdLhβ was determined by immunofluorescence (IF) for Fshβ and Lhβ on medaka pituitary tissue, while comparison with fluorescence in situ hybridization (FISH) for fshb and lhb mRNA was used for validation. Competitive ELISAs were developed using antibodies against mdFshβ or mdLhβ, and the tethered proteins mdFshβα or mdLhβα for standard curves. The standard curve for the Fsh ELISA ranged from 97.6 pg/ml to 50 ng/ml, and for the Lh ELISA from 12.21 pg/ml to 6.25 ng/ml. The sensitivity of the assays for Fsh and Lh was 44.7 and 70.8 pg/ml, respectively. A profile of pituitary protein levels of medaka Fsh and Lh comparing juveniles with adults showed significant increase of protein amount from juvenile group (body length from 12 mm to 16.5 mm) to adult group (body length from 21 mm to 26.5 mm) for both hormones in male medaka. Comparing these data to a developmental profile of pituitary mRNA expression of medaka fshb and lhb, the mRNA expression of lhb also increased during male maturation and a linear regression analysis revealed a significant increase of lhb expression with increased body length that proposes a linear model. However, fshb mRNA expression did not change significantly during male development and therefore was not correlated with body length. In summary, we have developed and validated homologous ELISA assays for medaka Fsh and Lh based on proteins produced in P. pastoris, assays that will be used to study the functions and regulations of Fsh and Lh in more detail.
Elia Ciani, Romain Fontaine, Gersende Maugars, Naama Mizrahi, Ian Mayer, Berta Levavi-Sivan, and Finn-Arne Weltzien. 2019. “Melatonin receptors in Atlantic salmon stimulate cAMP levels in heterologous cell lines and show season-dependent daily variations in pituitary expression levels.” J Pineal Res, 67, 3, Pp. e12590. Abstract
The hormone melatonin connects environmental cues, such as photoperiod and temperature, with a number of physiological and behavioural processes, including seasonal reproduction, through binding to their cognate receptors. This study reports the structural, functional and physiological characterization of five high-affinity melatonin receptors (Mtnr1aaα, Mtnr1aaβ, Mtnr1ab, Mtnr1al, Mtnr1b) in Atlantic salmon. Phylogenetic analysis clustered salmon melatonin receptors into three monophyletic groups, Mtnr1A, Mtnr1Al and Mtnr1B, but no functional representative of the Mtnr1C group. Contrary to previous studies in vertebrates, pharmacological characterization of four receptors in COS-7, CHO and SH-SY5Y cell lines (Mtnr1Aaα, Mtnr1Aaβ, Mtnr1Ab, Mtnr1B) showed induction of intracellular cAMP levels following 2-iodomelatonin or melatonin exposure. No consistent response was measured after N-acetyl-serotonin or serotonin exposure. Melatonin receptor genes were expressed at all levels of the hypothalamo-pituitary-gonad axis, with three genes (mtnr1aaβ, mtnr1ab and mtnr1b) detected in the pituitary. Pituitary receptors displayed daily fluctuations in mRNA levels during spring, prior to the onset of gonadal maturation, but not in autumn, strongly implying a direct involvement of melatonin in seasonal processes regulated by the pituitary. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of cAMP induction mediated via melatonin receptors in a teleost species.
Lian Hollander-Cohen, Benjamin Böhm, Krist Hausken, and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2019. “Ontogeny of the specificity of gonadotropin receptors and gene expression in carp.” Endocr Connect, 8, 11, Pp. 1433-1446. Abstract
The pituitary gonadotropins, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH), are the principle endocrine drivers of reproductive processes in the gonads of jawed vertebrates. Canonically, FSH recruits and maintains selected ovarian follicles for maturation and LH induces the stages of germinal vesicle breakdown and ovulation. In mammals, LH and FSH specifically activate cognate G-protein-coupled receptors that affect the proteins involved in steroidogenesis, protein hormone synthesis, and gametogenesis. This dual-gonadotropin model also exists in some fish species, but not in all. In fact, due to their diverse number of species, extended number of ecological niches, and remarkably flexible reproductive strategies, fish are appropriate as models to understand the co-evolution of gonadotropins and their receptors. In this study, we cloned and characterized the expression profile over the final stages of ovarian maturation of carp (Cyprinus carpio) LHCGR and FSHR. Expression of both gonadotropin receptors increased in the later stage of early vitellogenesis, suggesting that both LH and FSH play a role in the development of mature follicles. We additionally tested the activation of cLHCGR and cFSHR using homologous and heterologous recombinant gonadotropins in order to gain insight into an evolutionary model of permissive gonadotropin receptor function. These data suggest that carp (Cyprinus carpio) gonad development and maturation depends on a specific gonadotropin profile that does not reflect the temporally distinct dual-gonadotropin model observed in salmonids or mammals, and that permissive gonadotropin receptor activation is a specific feature of Ostariophysi, not all teleosts.
Krist Hausken and Berta Levavi-Sivan. 2019. “Synteny and phylogenetic analysis of paralogous thyrostimulin beta subunits (GpB5) in vertebrates.” PLoS One, 14, 9, Pp. e0222808. Abstract
At some point early in the vertebrate lineage, two whole genome duplication events (1R, 2R) took place that allowed for the diversification and sub-/neo-functionalization of the glycoprotein hormones (GpHs). All jawed vertebrates possess the GpHs luteinizing hormone (LH), follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), and thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH), each of which are heterodimers with a common alpha subunit and unique beta subunits. In 2002, a novel glycoprotein hormone named thyrostimulin was described to have unique GpA2 and GpB5 subunits that were homologous to the vertebrate alpha and beta subunits. The presence of GpA2 and GpB5 in representative protostomes and deuterostomes indicates their ancestry in the GpH family. There are several reports of GpH subunit evolution, but none have included GpA2 and GpB5 for species in each major vertebrate class. Thus, we addressed the ancestry of two paralogous GpB5 subunits (GpB5a and GpB5b) that were previously only recognized in two teleost species. Our search for orthologous GpB5a and GpB5b sequences in representative vertebrates and phylogenetic analysis, in addition to the currently published evolutionary scenarios of the GpH family, supports that GpB5a and GpB5b are paralogs that arose from the first vertebrate whole genome duplication event (1R). Syntenic analysis supports lineage specific losses of GpB5a in chondrichthyes, basal actinopterygians, and tetrapods, and retention in coelacanth and teleosts. Additionally, we were unable to identify GpA2 transcripts from tilapia mRNA, suggesting that this species does not produce heterodimeric thyrostimulin. While the conserved or even species-specific functional role of thyrostimulin or its individual subunits are still unknown in vertebrates, the analyses presented here provide context for future studies on the functional divergence of the GpH family.

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