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Transcriptomic profiles of Japanese medaka (Oryzias latipes) in response to alkalinity stress

Author(s): Z.L. Yao, H. Wang, L. Chen, K. Zhou, C.Q. Ying and Q.F. Lai

Oryzias latipes (Adrianichthyidae), known as Japanese medaka or Japanese killifish, is a small 2-4 cm long fish common in rice paddies in coastal Southeast Asia and is also a popular aquarium fish. It has been widely used as a research model because of its small size and because it is very easy to rear. Alkalinity stress is considered to be one of the major stressors on fish in saline-alkaline water. As very little is known about molecular genetic responses of aquatic organisms to alkalinity stress, we examined genome-wide gene expression profiles of Japanese medaka in response to carbonate alkalinity stress. Adult fish were exposed to freshwater and high carbonate alkaline water in the laboratory. We designed a microarray containing 26,429 genes for measuring gene expression change in the gills of the fish exposed to high carbonate alkalinity stress. Among these genes, 512 were up-regulated and 501 were down-regulated in the gills. These differentially expressed genes can be divided into gene groups using gene ontology, including biological processes, cellular components and molecular function. These genegroups are related to acid-base and ion regulation, cellular stress response, metabolism, immune response, and reproduction processes. Biological pathways including amino sugar and nucleotide sugar metabolism, porphyrin and chlorophyll metabolism, metabolism of xenobiotics by cytochrome P450, drug metabolism, aminoacyl-tRNA biosynthesis, glycine, serine and threonine metabolism, ascorbate and aldarate metabolism, pentose and glucuronate interconversions, glutathione metabolism, and fructose and mannose metabolism were significantly up-regulated. Alkalinity stress stimulates the energy and ion regulation pathways, and it also slows down the pathways related to the immune system and reproduction.