Neuroendocrine regulation of reproduction in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua): Evidence of Eya3 as an integrator of photoperiodic cues and nutritional regulation to initiate sexual maturation

Evidence from mammals and aves alludes to a possibly conserved seasonal photoperiod induced neuroendocrine cascade which stimulates subsequent sexual maturation however our understanding of this mechanism in teleosts is lacking. Unlike all teleosts studied to date, the Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua) is a short day breeder with the reduction in day-length from the summer solstice stimulating gametogenesis. Cod specific orthologues of eya3, tshβ and dio2 were identified and their expression was monitored in the brain and pituitary of cod held under either stimulated or inhibited photoperiod conditions. While no differential expression was apparent in brain dio2 &tshβ and pituitary tshβ, there was significant temporal variation in expression of pituitary eya3 under the SNP treatment, with expression level elevating in association with active gametogenesis. Under the LL treatment, sexual maturation was inhibited and there was a corresponding suppression of eya3 expression. In a second study the impact of size/energetic status on the initiation of sexual maturation was investigated. In the feed restricted population maturation was significantly suppressed (5% sexually mature) compared to the ab libitum fed stock (95% sexually mature) with there being a concomitant significant suppression in pituitary eya3 expression. Overall, these results suggest that pituitary eya3 has the potential to act as an integrator of both environmental and energetic regulation of sexual maturation of cod. Being the first account of eya3 induction in a short day breeding teleost, the conserved association with stimulation of reproduction and not seasonal state indicates that the upstream drivers which initiate the pathway differ among vertebrates according to their breeding strategies, but the pathway itself and its role in the reproductive cascade appears to be conserved across the vertebrate clade.


Doyle A, Cowan ME, Migaud H, Wright PJ, Davie A

Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, 260
06, 2, 2021
Pages: 111000
DOI: 10.1016/j.cbpa.2021.111000