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Bir, Joyanta., Rojo-Bartolomé, I., Lekube, X., Diaz de Cerio, O., Ortiz-Zarragoitia, M., Cancio, I., High production of transfer RNAs identifies the presence of developing oocytes in ovaries and intersex testes of teleost fish, Marine Environmental Research (2023) Year: 2023


5S rRNA is highly transcribed in fish oocytes and this transcription levels can be used to identify the presence of oocytes in the intersex testes of fish exposed to xenoestrogens. Similar to 5S rRNA, tRNAs are transcribed by RNA polymerase III (Pol-III) in eukaryotes, so this study focuses in the analysis of the levels of expression of tRNAs in the gonads (ovaries and testes) of eight teleost species as a possible new oocyte molecular marker. Total RNA extracted from gonads of six commercial teleost species in the Biscay Bay, from the pollution sentinel species thicklip grey mullet (Chelon labrosus) known present intersex testes in response to xenoestrogens in Gernika estuary and from the laboratory model species Danio rerio were analysed through capillary electrophoresis. Bioanalyzer electropherograms were used to quantify the concentrations of tRNAs, 5S and 5.8S rRNAs. All studied ovaries expressed significantly higher levels of tRNAs and 5S rRNA than testes. A tRNA to 5.8S rRNA index was calculated which differentiates ovaries from testes, and identifies some intersex testes in between testes and ovaries in mullets. The tRNA/5.8S ratio was highest in ovaries in previtellogenic stage, decreasing towards maturity. Thus, strong oocyte expression of tRNAs is an additional proof of high activity levels of Pol-III during early stages of oocyte development in teleost ovaries. Incidentally, we observed that miRNA concentrations were always higher in testes than ovaries. The indexing approach developed in the present study could have multiple applications in teleost reproduction research and in the development of early molecular markers of intersex condition.