The LHb expression is up-regulated during puberty in female zebrafish. However, the molecular mechanism underlying how LHb expression is regulated during puberty remains largely unknown. In this study, we found that the mRNA expression levels of lhb, fshb and cyp19a1b were up-regulated along with the puberty onset in zebrafish. Among the three nuclear estrogen receptors (nERs), the esr2b is the only type whose expression is significantly up-regulated during puberty onset in the pituitary. However, in situ hybridization results revealed that lhb mRNA was colocalized with esr1 and esr2a but not esr2b. Exposure to estradiol (E 2 ) significantly stimulates LHb expression in both wild-type and kiss1 −/− ;kiss2 −/− ;gnrh3 −/− triple knockout pubertal zebrafish. Moreover, exposure of cultured pituitary cells to E 2 increased the LHb expression, indicating that the estrogenic effect on LHb expression could be acted at the pituitary level. Finally, we cloned and analyzed the promoter of lhb by luciferase assay. Our results indicated that the E 2 responsive regions of lhb promoter for ERα and ERβ2 are identical, suggesting that ERα and ERβ2 could bind to the same half ERE region of the promoter of lhb, exhibiting a classical ERE-dependent pathway. In summary, we demonstrate that E 2 could directly act on the pituitary level to stimulate LHb transcription during puberty in zebrafish.
- Direct effect