Dmrt1 directly regulates the transcription of the testis-biased Sox9b gene in Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus)
Publication date: Available online 8 November 2018
Author(s): Ling Wei, Xiaoyan Li, Minghui Li, Yaohao Tang, Jing Wei, Deshou Wang
The Nile tilapia Sox9b gene is characterized as a homolog of the mammalian Sox9 gene, which exhibits testis-biased expression and is involved in testis development. However, the transcriptional regulation of the Sox9b gene is poorly understood. In this study, we demonstrated that the male sex differentiation gene doublesex and mab-3 related transcription factor 1 (Dmrt1) was predominantly expressed in the Nile tilapia testis and that Dmrt1 knockdown in the Nile tilapia decreased the expression of the Sox9b gene in the testis. An in silico analysis predicted that the proximal promoter of the Nile tilapia Sox9b gene had two potential cis-regulatory elements (CREs) for the Dmrt1 transcription factor. Together, a luciferase reporter analysis and site-directed mutagenesis revealed that Dmrt1 increased the transcriptional activity of the Nile tilapia Sox9b promoter via a specific CRE near the translation start site. A chromatin immunoprecipitation (ChIP) analysis and an electrophoretic mobility shift assay (EMSA) confirmed that Dmrt1 could directly bind to this specific CRE for Dmrt1 in the Nile tilapia Sox9b promoter. Taken together, our results demonstrate that the male sex-differentiation factor Dmrt1 positively regulates the transcription of the Nile tilapia Sox9b gene by directly binding to a specific CRE within the Sox9b promoter.
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