Key Event Overview
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AOPs Including This Key Event
Level of Biological Organization
How this Key Event works
Vitellogenin is an egg yolk precursor protein synthesized by hepatocytes of oviparous vertebrates. In vertebrates, transcription of vitellogenin genes is predominantly regulated by estrogens via their action on nuclear estrogen receptors. During vitellogenic periods of the reproductive cycle, when circulating estrogen concentrations are high, vitellogenin transcription and synthesis are typically orders of magnitude greater than during non-reproductive conditions.
How it is Measured or Detected
Relative abundance of vitellogenin transcripts or protein can be readily measured in liver tissue from organisms exposed in vivo (e.g., (Biales et al. 2007)), or in liver slices (e.g., (Schmieder et al. 2000) or hepatocytes (e.g., (Navas and Segner 2006) exposed in vitro, using real-time quantitative PCR (transcripts) or ELISA (protein).
Evidence Supporting Taxonomic Applicability
Oviparous vertebrates. Although vitellogenin is conserved among oviparous vertebrates and many invertebrates, liver is not a relevant tissue for the production of vitellogenin in invertebrates (Wahli 1988)
- Biales AD, Bencic DC, Lazorchak JL, Lattier DL. 2007. A quantitative real-time polymerase chain reaction method for the analysis of vitellogenin transcripts in model and nonmodel fish species. Environ Toxicol Chem 26(12): 2679-2686.
- Schmieder P, Tapper M, Linnum A, Denny J, Kolanczyk R, Johnson R. 2000. Optimization of a precision-cut trout liver tissue slice assay as a screen for vitellogenin induction: comparison of slice incubation techniques. Aquat Toxicol 49(4): 251-268.
- Navas JM, Segner H. 2006. Vitellogenin synthesis in primary cultures of fish liver cells as endpoint for in vitro screening of the (anti)estrogenic activity of chemical substances. Aquat Toxicol 80(1): 1-22.
- Wahli W. 1988. Evolution and expression of vitellogenin genes. Trends in Genetics. 4:227-232.