PloS one

Identification of Putative Nuclear Receptors and Steroidogenic Enzymes in Murray-Darling Rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis) Using RNA-Seq and De Novo Transcriptome Assembly.

PMID 26599404


Murray-Darling rainbowfish (Melanotaenia fluviatilis [Castelnau, 1878]; Atheriniformes: Melanotaeniidae) is a small-bodied teleost currently under development in Australasia as a test species for aquatic toxicological studies. To date, efforts towards the development of molecular biomarkers of contaminant exposure have been hindered by the lack of available sequence data. To address this, we sequenced messenger RNA from brain, liver and gonads of mature male and female fish and generated a high-quality draft transcriptome using a de novo assembly approach. 149,742 clusters of putative transcripts were obtained, encompassing 43,841 non-redundant protein-coding regions. Deduced amino acid sequences were annotated by functional inference based on similarity with sequences from manually curated protein sequence databases. The draft assembly contained protein-coding regions homologous to 95.7% of the complete cohort of predicted proteins from the taxonomically related species, Oryzias latipes (Japanese medaka). The mean length of rainbowfish protein-coding sequences relative to their medaka homologues was 92.1%, indicating that despite the limited number of tissues sampled a large proportion of the total expected number of protein-coding genes was captured in the study. Because of our interest in the effects of environmental contaminants on endocrine pathways, we manually curated subsets of coding regions for putative nuclear receptors and steroidogenic enzymes in the rainbowfish transcriptome, revealing 61 candidate nuclear receptors encompassing all known subfamilies, and 41 putative steroidogenic enzymes representing all major steroidogenic enzymes occurring in teleosts. The transcriptome presented here will be a valuable resource for researchers interested in biomarker development, protein structure and function, and contaminant-response genomics in Murray-Darling rainbowfish.