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Comparative transcriptomics of anadromous and resident brook charr Salvelinus fontinalis before their first salt water transition

Author(s): Marylène BOULET, Éric NORMANDEAU, Bérénice BOUGAS, Céline AUDET,Louis BERNATCHEZ

Journal: Current Zoology
ISSN 1674-5507

Volume: 58;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 158;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Transcriptome | Life history tactics | Anadromy | Migration to salt water | Ecotypes | Salmonids

Most salmonid taxa have an anadromous life history strategy, whereby fish migrate to saltwater habitats for a growth period before returning to freshwater habitats for spawning. Moreover, several species are characterized by different life history tactics whereby resident and anadromous forms may occur in genetically differentiated populations within a same species, as well as polymorphism within a population. The molecular mechanisms underlying the physiological differences between anadromous and resident forms during the first transition from freshwater to saltwater environments are only partially understood. Insofar research has typically focused on species of the genus Salmo. Here, using a 16,000 cDNA array, we tested the hypothesis that anadromous brook charr Salvelinus fontinalis are characterized by differences in their transcriptome relative to resident brook charr before the anadromous fish migration. Families originating from parapatric populations of anadromous and resident charr were reared in controlled environments mimicking natural temperature and photoperiod, and sampled in spring, while still in fresh water. While anadromous and resident charr showed similar transcriptome profiles in white muscle, they were characterized by striking differences in their gill transcriptome profiles. Genes that were upregulated in the gills of anadromous charr were principally involved in metabolism (mitochondrial electron transport chain, glucose metabolism, and protein synthesis), development (tissue differentiation) and innate immunity. We discuss the nature of these transcriptomic differences in relation to molecular mechanisms underlying the expression of anadromous and resident life history tactics and suggest that the anadromous charr express some of the molecular processes present in other migratory salmonids [Current Zoology 58 (1): 158–170, 2012].
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