Molecular identification of steroidogenesis-related genes in scallops and their potential roles in gametogenesis

Tongchai Thitiphuree, Kazue Nagasawa, Makoto Osada

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29 Citations (Scopus)


Sex steroids are crucial for controlling gametogenesis and germ cell maturation in vertebrates. It has been proposed that Yesso scallop (Mizuhopecten yessoensis) has the same sex steroids as those animals, but the scallop biosynthetic pathway is unclear. In this study, we characterized several steroidogenesis-related genes in M. yessoensis and proposed a putative biosynthetic pathway for sex steroids that is similar to that of vertebrates. Specifically, we identified several steroidogenesis-related gene sequences that encode steroid metabolizing enzymes: StAR-related lipid transfer (START) protein, 17α-hydroxylase, 17,20-lyase (cyp17a), 17β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (hsd17b), and 3β-hydroxysteroid dehydrogenase (hsd3b). We sampled adult scallops throughout their reproductive phase to compare their degree of maturation with their intensity of mRNA expression. Semi-quantitative RT-PCR analysis revealed a ubiquitous expression of transcripts for steroid metabolizing enzymes (i.e., star, cyp17a, hsd17b, and hsd3b) in peripheral and gonadal tissues. Real-time PCR analysis revealed a high level of expression of star3 and cyp17a genes in gonadal tissues at the early stage of cell differentiation in scallops. Interestingly, mRNA expression of hsd3b and hsd17b genes showed a synchronous pattern related to degree of gonad maturity. These results indicate that both hsd3b and hsd17b genes are likely involved in steroidogenesis in scallops. We therefore believe that these steroid-metabolizing enzymes allow scallops to endogenously produce sex steroids to regulate reproductive events.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)22-33
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb


  • Bivalve
  • Gonadal maturation
  • Reproduction
  • Sex steroids
  • Transcriptome


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