In Crustacea, reproductive function and mechanisms regulating vitellogenesis have not been fully elucidated. This is due in great part to a lack of information concerning the biochemical nature of the vitellogenin molecule, the hemolymph precursor of yolk protein, vitellin, as well as the functional expression of the vitellogenin-encoding gene. We have therefore cloned a cDNA encoding vitellogenin in the kuruma prawn, Penaeus japonicus based on the N-terminal amino acid sequence of the 91 kDa subunit of vitellin. The open reading frame of this cDNA encoded 2,587 amino acid residues. This is the first investigation reporting a full-length cDNA and its corresponding amino acid sequence for vitellogenin in any crustacean species. Northern blot analysis and In situ hybridization have revealed that mRNA encoding vitellogenin was expressed in both the follicle cells in the ovary and the parenchymal cells in the hepatopancreas. In nonvitellogenic females, vitellogenin mRNA levels were negligible in both the ovary and hepatopancreas, but in vitellogenic females, levels were dramatically increased in both tissues. In the ovary, highest levels were observed during the early exogenous vitellogenic stage, and thereafter rapidly decreased, whereas in the hepatopancreas, high levels were maintained until the onset of the late vitellogenic stage. Differing profiles of vitellogenin mRNA levels in the ovary and hepatopancreas suggest that the contribution of these tissues to vitellogenin synthesis harbor separate and complementary roles during vitellogenesis.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology