Profiling Expression Changes of Genes Associated With Temperature and Sex During High Temperature-Induced Masculinization in the Nile Tilapia Brain

Physiol Genomics. 2019 May 1;51(5):159-168. doi: 10.1152/physiolgenomics.00117.2018. Epub 2019 Mar 29.


Fish sex-determining mechanisms can be classified as genotypic (GSD), temperature (TSD), or genotypic plus temperature effects (GSD+TE). Previous studies have shown that culturing water temperature during thermosensitive periods (TSP) could affect the expression of many genes in the gonad in some fish. However, few studies have focused on gene expression changes in the brain after temperature treatment during TSP in fish species. In this study, three families were developed by crossing XX neomales with XX females and one of them was used for transcriptome analysis. The results showed that a total of 105, 3164 and 4666 DEGs were respectively obtained in FC (female control) vs. FT (high temperature-treated females at TSP), FC vs. MC (male control), and MC vs. FT comparison groups. By profiling analysis, we show that the mRNA expression levels of 16 differentially expressed genes (DEGs) exhibited significant downregulation or upregulation after high temperature treatment and reached a similar level as that in MC. Among the 16 DEGs, LOC100699848 (lysine specific demethylase 6A) and Jarid2 contained JmjC domain, showing the possible important role of JmjC domain in response to temperature treatment in Nile tilapia. Kdm6b (lysine demethylase 6B) and Jarid2 have been shown to play important roles in reptile TSD, showing the relative conservation of underlying regulation mechanisms between TSD in reptile and TSD or GSD+TE in fish species. Finally, the transcriptome profiling was validated by quantitative real-time PCR in nine selected genes. These results provide a direction for investigating the GSD+TE molecular mechanism in fish species.

Keywords: Nile tilapia; brain; high temperature; masculinization; sex reversal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cichlids / genetics
  • Cichlids / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Profiling / methods*
  • Genotype
  • Gonads / cytology
  • Gonads / metabolism
  • Male
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Sex Determination Processes / genetics
  • Sex Determination Processes / physiology
  • Temperature