Evolution of estrogen receptors in ray-finned fish and their comparative responses to estrogenic substances

Saki Tohyama, Shinichi Miyagawa, Anke Lange, Yukiko Ogino, Takeshi Mizutani, Masaru Ihara, Hiroaki Tanaka, Norihisa Tatarazako, Tohru Kobayashi, Charles R. Tyler, Taisen Iguchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Citations (Scopus)


In vertebrates, estrogens play fundamental roles in regulating reproductive activities through estrogen receptors (ESRs), and disruption of estrogen signaling is now of global concern for both wildlife and human health. To date, ESRs of only a limited number of species have been characterized. We investigated the functional diversity and molecular basis or ligand sensitivity of ESRs among ray-finned fish species (Actinopterygii), the most variable group within vertebrates. We cloned and characterized ESRs from several key species in the evolution of ray-finned fish including bichir (Polypteriformes, ESR1 and ESR2) at the basal lineage of ray-finned fish, and arowana (Osteoglossiformes, ESR1 and ESR2b) and eel (Anguilliformes, ESR1, ESR2a and ESR2b) both belonging to ancient early-branching lineages of teleosts, and suggest that ESR2a and ESR2b emerged through teleost-specific whole genome duplication, but an ESR1 paralogue has been lost in the early lineage of euteleost fish species. All cloned ESR isoforms showed similar responses to endogenous and synthetic steroidal estrogens, but they responded differently to non-steroidal estrogenic endocrine disrupting chemicals (EDCs) (e.g., ESR2a exhibits a weaker reporter activity compared with ESR2b). We show that variation in ligand sensitivity of ESRs can be attributed to phylogeny among species of different taxonomic groups in ray-finned fish. The molecular information provided contributes both to understanding of the comparative role of ESRs in the reproductive biology of fish and their comparative responses to EDCs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)189-197
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Steroid Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Publication statusPublished - Apr 1 2016
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Medicine
  • Molecular Biology
  • Endocrinology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Cell Biology


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