Critical roles of the ddx5 gene in zebrafish sex differentiation and oocyte maturation
DEAD-box helicase 5 (Ddx5) functions as an ATP-dependent RNA helicase and as a transcriptional coactivator for several transcription factors; however, the developmental function of the ddx5 gene in vertebrates is not fully understood. We found that the zebrafish ddx5 gene was expressed in developing gonads. Using the genome editing technology transcription activator-like effector nuclease, we established a ddx5-disrupted zebrafish and examined the morphological phenotypes of the mutant. We
... the mutant. We found that the majority of ddx5-deficient mutants developed as fertile males with normal testes and a small number of ddx5-deficient mutants developed as infertile females with small ovaries. Apoptotic cell death at 31 days post fertilization was increased in thick immature gonads (presumptive developing ovaries) of the ddx5-deficient mutant compared to those of heterozygous wild-type fish, while the number of apoptotic cells in thin immature gonads (presumptive developing testes) was comparable between the mutant and wild-type animals. Histological analysis revealed that ovaries of adult ddx5-deficient females had fewer vitellogenic oocytes and a larger number of stage I and II oocytes. The amount of cyclic adenosine monophosphate in the ddx5-deficient ovaries was high compared to that of wild-type ovaries, presumably leading to the mitotic arrest of oocyte maturation. Therefore, the ddx5 gene is dispensable for testis development, but it is essential for female sex differentiation and oocyte maturation in zebrafish.