Primordial germ cell migration in the yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) and identification of stromal cell-derived factor 1

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2015 Mar 1:213:16-23. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2015.02.007. Epub 2015 Feb 20.


Primordial germ cells (PGCs) are progenitors of the germ cell lineage, giving rise to either spermatogonia or oogonia after the completion of gonadal differentiation. Currently, there is little information on the mechanism of PGCs migration leading to the formation of the primordial gonad in perciform fish. Yellowtail kingfish (Seriola lalandi) (YTK) (order Perciforms) inhabit tropical and temperate waters in the southern hemisphere. Fundamental details into the molecular basis of larval development in this species can be easily studied in Australia, as they are commercially cultured and readily available. In this study, histological analysis of YTK larvae revealed critical time points for the migration of PGCs to the genital ridge, resulting in the subsequent development of the primordial gonad. In YTK larvae at 3, 5, 7 and 10 days post hatch (DPH), PGCs were not yet enclosed by somatic cells, indicating the primordial gonad had not yet started to form. While at 15, 18 and 20 DPH PGCs had already settled at the genital ridge and started to become enclosed by somatic cells indicating the primordial gonad had started to develop. A higher number of PGCs were observed in the larvae at 15 and 18 DPH indicating PGCs proliferation, which corresponds with them becoming enclosed by the somatic cells. Directional migration of PGCs toward the genital ridge is a critical event in the subsequent development of a gonad. In zebrafish, mouse and chicken, stromal-cell derived factor (SDF1) signalling is one of the key molecules for PGC migration. We subsequently isolated from YTK the SDF1 (Slal-SDF1) gene, which encodes for a 98-residue precursor protein with a signal peptide at the N-terminus. There is spatial conservation between fish species of four cysteine residues at positions C9, C11, C34 and C49, expected to form disulphide bonds and stabilize the SDF structure. In YTK, Slal-SDF1 gene expression analyses shows that this gene is expressed in larvae from 1 to 22 DPH and demonstrates distinct spatial localisation in the larvae at 7 DPH. These results provide a platform for further studies into the molecular machinery of PGC migration in yellowtail kingfish, as well as other perciform fish species.

Keywords: Perciform; Primordial germ cell; Stromal cell-derived factor; Yellowtail kingfish.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Biomarkers / metabolism
  • Blotting, Western
  • Cell Differentiation
  • Cell Movement / physiology*
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / genetics
  • Chemokine CXCL12 / metabolism*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Fluorescent Antibody Technique
  • Gene Expression Profiling
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental*
  • Germ Cells / cytology
  • Germ Cells / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Larva / cytology
  • Larva / physiology
  • Mice
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Oligonucleotide Array Sequence Analysis
  • Perciformes / physiology*
  • RNA, Messenger / genetics
  • Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Reverse Transcriptase Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Biomarkers
  • Chemokine CXCL12
  • RNA, Messenger