Liu, X., Zhu, P., Sham, K.W., Yuen, J.M., Xie, C., Zhang, Y., Liu, Y., Li, S., Huang, X., Cheng, C.H., and Lin, H. (2009) Identification of a Membrane Estrogen Receptor in Zebrafish with Homology to Mammalian GPER and Its High Expression in Early Germ Cells of the Testis. Biology of reproduction. 80(6):1253-1261.
To study the rapid action of estrogen on the male reproductive system in teleost, a full-length cDNA homologous to the seven-transmembrane receptor GPER of human and rodents was cloned from the testis of zebrafish. Biological characterization of this cloned zebrafish gper was performed by its functional expression in cultured eukaryotic cells. Saturation analysis and Scatchard plotting of [(3)H]-estradiol binding to plasma membranes of gper-transfected COS-7 cells and cAMP response element transactivation assay testified the biological function of the cloned gper as an estrogen receptor. In addition, treatment of gper-transfected COS-7 cells with 17beta-estradiol increased the phosphorylation of MAPK3/MAPK1. However, the inactivity of Gper in the FOS promoter transactivation study indicated some functional difference between the zebrafish and human receptors. Interestingly, gper was found to be highly expressed in the brain and testis by RT-PCR analysis. Results of in situ hybridization demonstrated the localization of gper in specific brain regions and also in the early germ cells of the testis including the spermatogonia, spermatocytes as well as the somatic cells such as Sertoli cells in adult male zebrafish. Subsequent RT-PCR analysis in cells derived from laser-capture microdissection microscopy further confirmed the high expression of gper in the early germ cells of testis. The present study demonstrates the existence of a functionally active Gper in zebrafish, and suggests a putative role in mediating the rapid action of estrogen in male reproduction.