Photoperiod influences growth and MLL (mixed-lineage leukaemia) expression in Atlantic cod

Kazue Nagasawa, Alessia Giannetto, Jorge M.O. Fernandes

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Photoperiod is associated to phenotypic plasticity of somatic growth in several teleost species. However, the molecular mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are currently unknown but it is likely that epigenetic regulation by methyltransferases is involved. The MLL (mixed-lineage leukaemia) family comprises histone methyltransferases that play a critical role in regulating gene expression during early development in mammals. So far, these genes have received scant attention in teleost fish. In the present study, the mean weight of Atlantic cod juveniles reared under continuous illumination was found to be 13% greater than those kept under natural photoperiod conditions for 120 days. We newly determined cDNA sequences of five mll (mll1, mll2, mll3a, mll4b and mll5) and two setd1 (setd1a and setd1ba) paralogues from Atlantic cod. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that the cod genes clustered within the appropriate mll clade and comparative mapping of mll paralogues showed that these genes lie within a region of conserved synteny among teleosts. All mll and setd1 genes were highly expressed in gonads and fast muscle of adult cod, albeit at different levels, and they were differentially regulated with photoperiod in muscle of juvenile fish. Following only one day of exposure to constant light, mll1, mll4b and setd1a were up to 57% lower in these fish compared to the natural photoperiod group. In addition, mRNA expression of myogenic regulatory factors (myog and myf-5) and pax7 in fast muscle was also affected by different photoperiod conditions. Notably, myog was significantly elevated in the continuous illumination group throughout the time course of the experiment. The absence of a day/night cycle is associated with a generalised decrease in mll expression concomitant with an increase in myog transcript levels in fast muscle of Atlantic cod, which may be involved in the observed epigenetic regulation of growth by photoperiod in this species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere36908
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2012 May 9


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