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    Transcription factors encoded by the Dmrt gene family regulate multiple aspects of animal reproduction. Most studies investigating the Dmrt gene family were conducted in model organisms from bilateral species, with a particular emphasis on gene function in male sex determination. It is still unclear whether the E. ancora Dmrt (EaDmrt) genes found in basal metazoans such as cnidarians share similar characteristics with orthologs in other metazoans. In this study, seven full Dmrt gene transcript sequences for a gonochoric coral, Euphyllia ancora (phylum: Cnidaria; class: Anthozoa), were obtained through transcriptome data mining, RT-PCR analysis, rapid amplification of cDNA ends, and sequencing. These EaDmrts were subjected to quantitative assays measuring temporal and tissue-specific expression. Results demonstrated a unique gene expression pattern for EaDmrtE, which is enriched in female germ cells during the spawning season. Based on the phylogenetic analyses performed across the homologous Dmrt genes in metazoans, we found that the female-specific EaDmrtE gene is not related to the DM1 gene of Acropora spp. coral nor to Dmrt1 of vertebrates, which are involved in sexual reproduction, especially in sex determination (vertebrate Dmrt1). Additionally, high levels of EaDmrtE transcripts detected in unfertilized mature eggs are retained in newly formed zygotes but decrease during embryonic development. We suggest that the newly discovered gene may play a role in oogenesis and early embryogenesis as a maternal factor in corals. Therefore, the sexual reproduction-associated Dmrt gene(s) should have arisen in cnidarians and might have evolved multiple times in metazoans. © 2016 by the Society for the Study of Reproduction, Inc.


    Chieh-Jhen Chen, Shinya Shikina, Wei-Jen Chen, Yi-Jou Chung, Yi-Ling Chiu, Joris A M Bertrand, Yan-Horn Lee, Ching-Fong Chang. A Novel Female-Specific and Sexual Reproduction-Associated Dmrt Gene Discovered in the Stony Coral, Euphyllia ancora. Biology of reproduction. 2016 Feb;94(2):40

    PMID: 26740592

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