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A novel hormone is required for the development of reproductive phenotypes in adult female crabs
Zmora, N.; Sook Chung, J. (2014). A novel hormone is required for the development of reproductive phenotypes in adult female crabs. Endocrinology 155(1): 230-239.
In: Endocrinology. Endocrine Society: Los Angeles, Calif.. ISSN 0013-7227, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Zmora, N.
  • Sook Chung, J.

    The crustacean male-specific androgenic hormone is widely accepted as a key factor in sexual differentiation and in the development of secondary sex characteristics. However, the mechanism by which the plethora of different reproductive strategies are controlled and executed in crustaceans is not known. We discovered in the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, a hitherto unknown neurohormone, named crustacean female sex hormone (CFSH), in distinct neurosecretory cells in the eyestalk ganglia. CFSH is highly expressed in females but weakly in males, and its crucial role in developing adult female phenotypes has now been established. CFSH cDNA encodes a 225-amino acid (aa) novel protein composed of a 23-aa predicted signal peptide, 33-aa precursor-related peptide and 167-aa mature protein that did not match any other sequence in GenBank. CFSH RNA interference knockdown by multiple administrations of double-stranded RNA at the prepubertal stage causes abnormal development of brooding and mating systems upon puberty. These systems include a pair of gonopores and an egg attachment system for brooding, comprised of an enlarged semicircular abdomen and ovigerous setae. The ovigerous setae in CFSH knocked-down females were fewer and 50% shorter and the gonopores were either significantly smaller than those of controls, misplaced, or absent. We also identified CFSH in the green crab, Carcinus maenas, a species that shares a similar reproductive strategy with C. sapidus. Together, our data provide the first evidence for the presence of a female hormone in crustaceans and its importance in positively controlling anatomic features associated with brooding and mating systems. From an evolutionary standpoint, the endocrine control supporting a female-specific reproductive strategy, as previously described for many vertebrate species, has now been demonstrated for the first time in crustaceans.

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