Involvement of Ad4BP/SF-1 in the ovarian cytochrome P-450 aromatase (oP450arom) gene expression was investigated using ovarian follicles of the Nile tilapia, possessing an average 14-day spawning cycle. The promoter region (5′ flanking region) of oP450arom gene cloned from tilapia contains two Ad4 binding sites. Subsequently, a cDNA encoding Ad4BP/SF-1 was cloned from the ovarian follicles. It is expressed in gonadal tissues, brain, and kidney. Oligonucleotide probes containing putative orphan nuclear receptor binding motifs (derived from promoter region of the aromatase gene) formed complexes with in vitro-translated Ad4BP/SF-1 and nuclear extracts of tilapia ovarian (midvitellogenic) follicles, indicating that Ad4BP/SF-1 is one of the transcriptional regulators for aromatase gene expression. Northern blot analysis revealed that the expression of both oP450arom and Ad4BP/SF-1 increased in parallel with ovarian growth from Day 0 to Day 5 after spawning and declined sharply from Day 8 to Day 11. On the day of spawning (Day 14), the expression of both correlates became undetectable. In vitro incubation of post vitellogenic full-grown immature follicles (corresponding to Day 11 after spawning) with hCG purged both oP450arom and Ad4BP/SF-1 messenger RNA transcripts at 18 h. Conversely, in vitro incubation of late vitellogenic follicles (corresponding to Day 8 after spawning) with hCG retained Ad4BP/SF-1 messenger RNA transcripts more or less steadily and up-regulated oP450arom. Ad4BP/SF-1 probably acts as a transcriptional modulator to implement the paradoxical actions of gonadotropins on oP450arom gene.
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