The relaxin-like factor (RLF), which is the product of the insulin-like factor 3 (INSL3) gene, is a new circulating peptide hormone of the relaxin-insulin family. In male mammals, it is a major secretory product of the testicular Leydig cells, where it appears to be expressed constitutively but in a differentiation-dependent manner. In the adult testis, RLF expression is a good marker for fully differentiated adult-type Leydig cells, but it is only weakly expressed in prepubertal immature Leydig cells or in Leydig cells that have become hypertrophic or transformed. It is also an important product of the fetal Leydig cell population, where it has been demonstrated using knockout mice to be responsible for the second phase of testicular descent acting on the gubernaculum. INSL3 knockout mice are cryptorchid, and in estrogen-induced cryptorchidism, RLF levels in the testis are significantly reduced. RLF is also made in female tissues, particularly in the follicular theca cells of small antral follicles and in the corpus luteum of the cycle and pregnancy. The ruminant ovary has a very high level of RLF expression, and analysis of primary cultures of ovarian theca-lutein cells indicated that, as in the testis, expression is probably constitutive but differentiation dependent. Female INSL3 knockout mice have altered estrous cycles, where RLF may be involved in follicle selection, an idea strongly supported by observations on bovine secondary follicles. Recently, a novel 7-transmembrane domain receptor (LGR8 or Great) has been tentatively identified as the RLF receptor, and its deletion in mice leads also to cryptorchidism.
Background: Leiomyoma have often been compared to keloids because of their fibrotic characteristic and higher rate of occurrence among African Americans as compared to other ethnic groups. To evaluate such a correlation at molecular level this study comparatively analyzed leiomyomas with keloids, surgical scars and peritoneal adhesions to identify genes that are either commonly and/or individually distinguish these fibrotic disorders despite differences in the nature of their development and growth. Methods: Microarray gene expression profiling and realtime PCR. Results: The analysis identified 3 to 12% of the genes on the arrays as differentially expressed among these tissues based on P ranking at greater than or equal to 0.005 followed by 2-fold cutoff change selection. Of these genes about 400 genes were identified as differentially expressed in leiomyomas as compared to keloids/incisional scars, and 85 genes as compared to peritoneal adhesions (greater than or equal to 0.01). Functional analysis indicated that the majority of these genes serve as regulators of cell growth (cell cycle/apoptosis), tissue turnover, transcription factors and signal transduction. Of these genes the expression of E2F1, RUNX3, EGR3, TBPIP, ECM-2, ESM1, THBS1, GAS1, ADAM17, CST6, FBLN5, and COL18A was confirmed in these tissues using quantitative realtime PCR based on low-density arrays. Conclusion: the results indicated that the molecular feature of leiomyomas is comparable but may be under different tissue-specific regulatory control to those of keloids and differ at the levels rather than tissue-specific expression of selected number of genes functionally regulating cell growth and apoptosis, inflammation, angiogenesis and tissue turnover.
Macropus agilis,) show extreme annual variation in reproductive rates, linked to stochastic variation in wet season rainfall. The seasonal timing of initiation and cessation of breeding in snakes (,Tropidonophis mairii,) and wallabies (,In the wet–dry tropics of northern Australia, temperatures are high and stable year-round but monsoonal rainfall is highly seasonal and variable both annually and spatially. Many features of reproduction in vertebrates of this region may be adaptations to dealing with this unpredictable variation in precipitation, notably by (i) using direct proximate (rainfall-affected) cues to synchronize the timing and extent of breeding with rainfall events, (ii) placing the eggs or offspring in conditions where they will be buffered from rainfall extremes, and (iii) evolving developmental plasticity, such that the timing and trajectory of embryonic differentiation flexibly respond to local conditions. For example, organisms as diverse as snakes (,Acrochordus arafurae,) and rats (,) also varies among years, depending upon precipitation. An alternative adaptive route is to buffer the effects of rainfall variability on offspring by parental care (including viviparity) or by judicious selection of nest sites in oviparous taxa without parental care. A third type of adaptive response involves flexible embryonic responses (including embryonic diapause, facultative hatching and temperature-dependent sex determination) to incubation conditions, as seen in squamates, crocodilians and turtles. Such flexibility fine-tunes developmental rates and trajectories to conditions–-especially, rainfall patterns–-that are not predictable at the time of oviposition.,), crocodiles (,Crocodylus porosus,), birds (,Rattus colletti,Liasis fuscus,Anseranas semipalmata
The relationship between polyploidy and breeding system is of critical importance for understanding evolution and improving the taxonomy of large Rosaceous genera. Reviewing the data available for the family and for tribe Pyreae (formerly subfamily Maloideae) in particular, it appears that hybridization, pseudogamous gametophytic apomixis, polyploidy, and self-compatibility are closely linked. Studies of the evolutionary significance of any one or two of these factors need to consider the others as well. Taxonomic decisions likewise need to be informed by knowledge of how these factors affect patterns of phenetic and genetic variation.
The tiger shark (Galeocerdo cuvier) is the largest shark in the family Carcharhinidae and the only carcharhinid with aplacental viviparous (ovoviviparous) reproduction. Despite its size and prevalence, many details of tiger shark reproductive biology are unknown. Size at maturity and litter size have been reported by several authors, but a lack of large numbers of pregnant females has made it difficult to determine gestation period, seasonality, and timing of the female reproductive cycle. Here we analyze data from shark control program fishing and incidental catches in Hawaii (n = 318) to construct the most complete picture of tiger shark reproduction to date. Males reached maturity at approximately 292 cm total length (TL) based on clasper calcification, whereas females matured between 330 and 345 cm TL based on oviducal gland and uterus widths. Litter sizes ranged from 3 to 57 with a mean of 32.6 embryos per litter. Data from 23 litters from various months of the year indicate that tiger sharks are usually 80–90 cm TL at birth, and that the gestation period is 15–16 months. Mating scars were observed in January–February and sperm is presumably stored for 4–5 months until ovulation takes place in May–July. Gestation begins in June–July and pups are born in September–October of the following year. Our data suggest that female tiger sharks in Hawaii give birth only once every three years. This could have major implications for conservation and management of this species, as it suggests that tiger shark fecundity is 33% lower than previously thought. This could greatly reduce the ability of this species to rebound from fishing pressure.
The past and present published studies reaffirm that nongonadal LH and hCG actions are real and here to stay. These actions have led to a better understanding of the biology of the hormones and more importantly begin to pave the way for novel therapies in reproductive medicine and in other areas.
Deep-sea squids, Moroteuthis ingens and Gonatus antarcticus, were collected in the slope waters off the Falkland Islands and their reproductive systems preserved and investigated onshore. Changes in oocyte length-frequencies at maturation and spawning, and their fecundity were studied. These squids, as well as many other species, are characterised by a synchronous oocyte growth and ovulation. Oviducts are not used for ripe egg accumulation and consequently the universal scale of Lipinski (1979) cannot be applied to assign female maturity. M. ingens spawns near the bottom; its fecundity is 168-297 thousand eggs. Maximum egg size is 1.8-2.7 mm. G. antarcticus spawns midwater; its fecundity is 10-25 thousand eggs. Egg size is 3.2-3.3 mm. In M. ingens spawning takes place in the austral autumn and winter, in G. antarcticus-in austral winter. Our data and the literature data show that the so-called "synchronous ovulation" probably occurs in all deepwater squids. This pattern is very rare among fish, but is quite common among benthic octopods that brood their egg masses.
The reproductive biology of Great Barrier Reef populations of the long‐lived grouper Epinephelus fuscoguttatus (brown‐marbled grouper or flowery cod) was investigated using histological analyses. Evidence provided by gonad morphology and age‐based demographics suggested monandric protogynous hermaphroditism. Younger age groups contained only immature and mature females, and all males were above the size and age of 100% female maturity, consistent with secondary males derived from mature females by adult sex change. Fishing records confirmed that spawning aggregations of this species and the co‐occurring Epinephelus polyphekadion (camouflage grouper) are sometimes targeted on the Great Barrier Reef. Sampling data revealed strong spawning seasonality for E. fuscoguttatus, with a relatively narrow annual spawning period (November to January). The temporal pattern of reproductive activity within the spawning period, based on occurrence of near spawning ovaries (containing hydrated oocytes), indicated spawning events may occur throughout much of the lunar cycle and only partly coincide with seasonal fishing closure periods on the Great Barrier Reef. The results indicate that protection would be enhanced by a longer seasonal closure.