Expression of vasa and nanos3 during primordial germ cell formation and migration in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.)

C. Presslauer, K. Nagasawa, J. M.O. Fernandes, I. Babiak

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


Primordial germ cells (PGCs), progenitors of gametes, are specified very early in embryonic development and undergo an active migration to the site where the future gonads will form. While the developmental pattern of PGCs during embryogenesis has been documented in few model teleost fishes, there is currently no information available for any representative of Superorder Paracanthopterygii. This includes Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua), which is a historically important food fish in both fisheries and aquaculture industries. In the present study, we cloned and characterized vasa and nanos3 and used them as germ cell markers in Atlantic cod. Sequencing results showed prospective vasa and nanos3 mRNA contained the domains used to describe their respective protein family. Furthermore, phylogenetic analysis using the amino acid sequence placed Atlantic cod Vasa distinct from representatives of three other taxonomic Superorders. Atlantic cod Nanos3 was placed with other homologues from the Nanos3 subfamily. Expression of both genes was detected from the first cleavage division; both were specifically expressed in Atlantic cod PGCs from the 32-cell stage. While nanos3 expression ceased during early somitogenesis, vasa was strongly expressed throughout embryonic development. Using vasa as a marker, we described the Atlantic cod PGC migration pattern. We demonstrated that Atlantic cod PGCs migrate ventral to the trunk mesoderm. With the exception of Pacific herring (Clupea pallasii), PGCs in other described teleost fishes migrate lateral to the trunk. The results from this study are the first step toward understanding germ line formation in Atlantic cod.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1262-1277
Number of pages16
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Oct 1
Externally publishedYes


  • Embryogenesis
  • ISH
  • MRNA
  • Nanos
  • Primordial germ cells
  • Vasa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Small Animals
  • Food Animals
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Equine


Dive into the research topics of 'Expression of vasa and nanos3 during primordial germ cell formation and migration in Atlantic cod (Gadus morhua L.)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this