[2018 AWARD WINNING PAPER] Oocyte maturation and active motility of spermatozoa are triggered by retinoic acid in pen shell Atrina pectinata

2018 Award of Excellence for the Science Papers

Fish Sci (2018) 84:535-551


Masahiko Awaji, Toshie Matsumoto, Daisuke Ojima, Shunsuke Inoue, Michio Suzuki, Masaei Kanematsu


For recovery of the declining population of pen shells in the wild, the production of pen shell juveniles for transplantation or aquaculture is underway in Japan. For more stable juvenile production, artificial fertilization methods for pen shells are needed, but methods to induce oocyte maturation (meiosis resumption) used in other bivalves, which make oocytes fertilizable, were ineffective for pen shells. Here, we report evidence showing that retinoic acid (RA) has strong activity in inducing oocyte maturation and activating sperm motility in pen shells. Treatment of fully developed oocytes with 1.0 μM alltrans-RA (at-RA) induced germinal vesicle breakdown, a typical morphological sign of oocyte maturation, but 1.0 μM at-retinol and at-retinal, 2 mM ammonia, and 1.0 μM serotonin were ineffective. Treatment with at-RA for 30 min was sufficient for oocyte maturation and was more potent than its isomers, 9cis– and 13cis-RA. Parallel results were obtained for sperm motility activation. Oocyte responsiveness to at-RA increased during the final stage of ovary development. Artificial fertilization was successful only with the oocytes treated with at-RA, and fertilized eggs developed to D-shaped (veliger) larvae without apparent morphological abnormalities. These results indicate the possible application of RA for the artificial fertilization of pen shells.


Pen shell / Atrina pectinata / Oocyte maturation / Sperm motility / Retinoic acid / Fertilization / Seed production 

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