Fish Physiology and Biochemistry

, Volume 42, Issue 6, pp 1609–1619 | Cite as

Scp3 expression in relation to the ovarian differentiation in the protogynous hermaphroditic ricefield eel Monopterus albus

  • Yixue Li
  • Zhi He
  • Shuxia Shi
  • Yize Zhang
  • Dong Chen
  • Weimin Zhang
  • Lihong Zhang


Synaptonemal complex protein 3 (Scp3), which is encoded by scp3, is a meiotic marker commonly used to trace the timing of gonadal differentiation in vertebrates. In the present study, the ricefield eel scp3 cDNA was cloned, and a fragment encoding amino acids 49 to 244 was overexpressed. The recombinant Scp3 polypeptide was purified and used to generate a rabbit anti-Scp3 polyclonal antiserum. In adult ricefield eels, scp3 mRNA was predominantly detected in the gonads and faintly detected in discrete brain areas. In the gonads, Scp3 immunoreactivities were shown to be localized to the germ cells, including meiotic primary growth oocytes, spermatocytes, and pre-meiotic spermatogonia. During early ovarian differentiation, immunoreactive Scp3 was not detected in the gonads of ricefield eels at 6 days post-hatching (dph) but was found to be abundantly localized in the cytoplasm of some oogonia at 7 dph, coinciding with the appearance of the ovarian cavity and ovarian differentiation. At 14 dph, strong Scp3 immunostaining was detected on one side of the nucleus with a distinct polarity in some germ cells, presumably at the leptotene stage. Consistent with these results, the expression of scp3 mRNA was faintly detected in the gonads of ricefield eels at 6 dph, increased at 8 dph, and then remained relatively high thereafter. Taken together, these results suggest that the appearance of immunoreactive Scp3 in oogonia could be a marker for early ovarian differentiation in ricefield eels. The translocation of the Scp3 protein from the cytoplasm to the nucleus in the oogonium of ricefield eels appears to be a controlled process that warrants further study.


Ricefield eel (Monopterus albusScp3 Immunohistochemistry Meiosis Ovarian differentiation 



This work was financially supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant Numbers: 31172088, 31372513, and 31572604). The authors would like to thank the Dazhong Breeding Co., Ltd. (Jianyang, Sichuan, China) for providing the ricefield eel larvae and Dr. Yangsheng Wu and Mr. Wenjia Ma for their assistance in this study.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

All the authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Aquatic Economic Animals and Guangdong Province Key Laboratory for Aquatic Economic Animals, School of Life SciencesSun Yat-Sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.College of Animal Sciences and TechnologySichuan Agricultural UniversityYa’anPeople’s Republic of China
  3. 3.Biology Department, School of Life SciencesSun Yat-sen UniversityGuangzhouPeople’s Republic of China

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