Truncated jarid2 and kdm6b transcripts are associated with temperature-induced sex reversal during development in a dragon lizard
journal contributionposted on 2022-05-11, 23:53 authored by SL Whiteley, S Wagner, CE Holleley, IW Deveson, Jennifer GravesJennifer Graves, A Georges
Sex determination and differentiation in reptiles are complex. In the model species, Pogona vitticeps, high incubation temperature can cause male to female sex reversal. To elucidate the epigenetic mechanisms of thermolabile sex, we used an unbiased genome-wide assessment of intron retention during sex reversal. The previously implicated chromatin modifiers (jarid2 and kdm6b) were two of three genes to display sex reversal–specific intron retention. In these species, embryonic intron retention resulting in C-terminally truncated jarid2 and kdm6b isoforms consistently occurs at low temperatures. High-temperature sex reversal is uniquely characterized by a high prevalence of N-terminally truncated isoforms of jarid2 and kdm6b, which are not present at low temperatures, or in two other reptiles with temperature-dependent sex determination. This work verifies that chromatin-modifying genes are involved in highly conserved temperature responses and can also be transcribed into isoforms with new sex-determining roles.