The insulin-like androgenic gland hormone (IAG) is the key regulator in crustacean male sexual differentiation. As a secreted peptide hormone, IAG might perform its biological function through interacting with the membrane receptor. However, the receptor of IAG remains unclear. In the current study, a putative IAG receptor gene (FcIAGR) was identified in Fenneropenaeus chinensis. The deduced amino acid sequence of FcIAGR contained several conserved domains of insulin-like receptor proteins, including two L domains (L1 and L2), a cysteine-rich domain, three fibronectin III domains, a transmembrane domain, and an intracellular tyrosine kinase domain. Tissue distribution and in situ hybridization analysis showed that FcIAGR was predominantly expressed in the androgenic gland and testis in male F. chinensis. Protein colocalization analysis in HEK293 cells showed that FcIAGR could colocalize with both FcIAG1 and FcIAG2, respectively. Yeast two-hybrid assay further confirmed the interactions between FcIAGR and FcIAGs. After a long-term silencing of FcIAGR with double-stranded RNA, most of the germ cells in the testis were arrested at the secondary spermatocytes, whereas those in the control developed into sperm cells. The data indicated that FcIAGR was the receptor of FcIAGs in F. chinensis. The current study provides insight into the mechanism that the insulin-like signaling pathway regulates the male sexual differentiation in Decapoda crustaceans.
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