Comparative transcriptome analysis of trout skin pigment cells
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionBMC Genomics. 2019, 20 (1), 1-15. 10.1186/s12864-019-5714-1
Background Enormous variability in skin colour and patterning is a characteristic of teleost fish, including Salmonidae fishes, which present themselves as a suitable model for studying mechanisms of pigment patterning. In order to screen for candidate genes potentially involved in the specific skin pigment pattern in marble trout (labyrinthine skin pattern) and brown trout (spotted skin pattern), we conducted comparative transcriptome analysis between differently pigmented dermis sections of the adult skin of the two species. Results Differentially expressed genes (DEGs) possibly associated with skin pigment pattern were identified. The expression profile of 27 DEGs was further tested with quantitative real-time PCR on a larger number of samples. Expression of a subset of ten of these genes was analysed in hybrid (marble x brown) trout individuals and compared with the complexity of their skin pigment pattern. A correlation between the phenotype and the expression profile assessed for hybrid individuals was detected for four (gja5, clcn2, cdkn1a and tjp1) of the ten candidate genes tested. The potential role of these genes in skin pigment pattern maintenance is discussed. Conclusions Our results indicate that the maintenance of different pigment patterns in trout is dependent upon specific communication—involving gap junctions, tight junctions and ion channels—between chromatophores present in differentially pigmented skin regions.