Open Access Research article

Identification of testis-relevant genes using in silico analysis from testis ESTs and cDNA microarray in the black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon)

Thidathip Wongsurawat1, Rungnapa Leelatanawit12, Natechanok Thamniemdee1, Umaporn Uawisetwathana1, Nitsara Karoonuthaisiri1*, Piamsak Menasveta34 and Sirawut Klinbunga13

Author Affiliations

1 National Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology (BIOTEC), National Science and Technology Development Agency, Klong 1, Klong Luang, Pathumthani 12120, Thailand

2 Program in Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

3 Center of Excellence for Marine Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

4 Department of Marine Science, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand

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BMC Molecular Biology 2010, 11:55  doi:10.1186/1471-2199-11-55

Published: 9 August 2010



Poor reproductive maturation of the black tiger shrimp (Penaeus monodon) in captivity is one of the serious threats to sustainability of the shrimp farming industry. Understanding molecular mechanisms governing reproductive maturation processes requires the fundamental knowledge of integrated expression profiles in gonads of this economically important species. In P. monodon, a non-model species for which the genome sequence is not available, expressed sequence tag (EST) and cDNA microarray analyses can help reveal important transcripts relevant to reproduction and facilitate functional characterization of transcripts with important roles in male reproductive development and maturation.


In this study, a conventional testis EST library was exploited to reveal novel transcripts. A total of 4,803 ESTs were unidirectionally sequenced and analyzed in silico using a customizable data analysis package, ESTplus. After sequence assembly, 2,702 unique sequences comprised of 424 contigs and 2,278 singletons were identified; of these, 1,133 sequences are homologous to genes with known functions. The sequences were further characterized according to gene ontology categories (41% biological process, 24% molecular function, 35% cellular component). Through comparison with EST libraries of other tissues of P. monodon, 1,579 transcripts found only in the testis cDNA library were identified. A total of 621 ESTs have not been identified in penaeid shrimp. Furthermore, cDNA microarray analysis revealed several ESTs homologous to testis-relevant genes were more preferentially expressed in testis than in ovary. Representatives of these transcripts, homologs of saposin (PmSap) and Dmc1 (PmDmc1), were further characterized by RACE-PCR. The more abundant expression levels in testis than ovary of PmSap and PmDmc1 were verified by quantitative real-time PCR in juveniles and wild broodstock of P. monodon.


Without a genome sequence, a combination of EST analysis and high-throughput cDNA microarray technology can be a useful integrated tool as an initial step towards the identification of transcripts with important biological functions. Identification and expression analysis of saposin and Dmc1 homologs demonstrate the power of these methods for characterizing functionally important genes in P. monodon.