DOI: 10.1073/pnas.2313514120 ISSN: 0027-8424

A transcriptional program underlying the circannual rhythms of gonadal development in medaka

Tomoya Nakayama, Miki Tanikawa, Yuki Okushi, Thoma Itoh, Tsuyoshi Shimmura, Michiyo Maruyama, Taiki Yamaguchi, Akiko Matsumiya, Ai Shinomiya, Ying-Jey Guh, Junfeng Chen, Kiyoshi Naruse, Hiroshi Kudoh, Yohei Kondo, Honda Naoki, Kazuhiro Aoki, Atsushi J. Nagano, Takashi Yoshimura
  • Multidisciplinary

To cope with seasonal environmental changes, organisms have evolved approximately 1-y endogenous circannual clocks. These circannual clocks regulate various physiological properties and behaviors such as reproduction, hibernation, migration, and molting, thus providing organisms with adaptive advantages. Although several hypotheses have been proposed, the genes that regulate circannual rhythms and the underlying mechanisms controlling long-term circannual clocks remain unknown in any organism. Here, we show a transcriptional program underlying the circannual clock in medaka fish ( Oryzias latipes ). We monitored the seasonal reproductive rhythms of medaka kept under natural outdoor conditions for 2 y. Linear regression analysis suggested that seasonal changes in reproductive activity were predominantly determined by an endogenous program. Medaka hypothalamic and pituitary transcriptomes were obtained monthly over 2 y and daily on all equinoxes and solstices. Analysis identified 3,341 seasonally oscillating genes and 1,381 daily oscillating genes. We then examined the existence of circannual rhythms in medaka via maintaining them under constant photoperiodic conditions. Medaka exhibited approximately 6-mo free-running circannual rhythms under constant conditions, and monthly transcriptomes under constant conditions identified 518 circannual genes. Gene ontology analysis of circannual genes highlighted the enrichment of genes related to cell proliferation and differentiation. Altogether, our findings support the “histogenesis hypothesis” that postulates the involvement of tissue remodeling in circannual time-keeping.

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