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Calcium, the backbone of fish culture: importance in skeletal formation, reproduction and normal physiology *

Contract nr: QLRT-CT-2000-01465
Project type: RS (Research and Technological Development Project)
Starting date:
Duration: 48 months
Total cost: 1,305,875 EUR
EC Contribution: 1,212,800 EUR
Scientific Officer:
Research topic: 5.1.2. Sustainable fisheries and aquaculture

Abstract:
Egg and larval viability in sea bream culture is still low, as a consequence of mortalities and a high incidence of skeletal deformities (dystrophies). Dystrophies are not always immediately apparent, leading to wasteful use of food, energy, space and human resources. Abnormal cartilage growth and calcification are key features of skeletal deformities. Parathyroid hormone-related protein (PTHrP), recently identified as a hypercalcaemic hormone in fish, appears to mediate ossification. Calcium is also essential in many other physiological processes, such as reproduction and growth.

The project will:
i) establish the relative contribution of the diet and the environment to calcium balance;
ii) determine the art played by PTHrP in larval development, growth and vitellogenesis;
iii) identify the genes involved in bone development and their regulation by PTHrP; and
iv) generate guidelines for the use of calcium in sea bream husbandry.


Objectives:
The first objective is to identify the relative importance of the different sources of calcium during critical phases of development, growth and reproduction in a normal production cycle on a fish farm. The second objective is to determine experimentally whole animal calcium omeostasis during larval developement, vitellogenesis and normal growth, and the role of PTHrP in maintaining homeostasis. These will be related to observations of calcium requirements and balance made on the fish farm. The third objective will be to determine the molecular mechanisms which underpin bone formation in fish and the way in which PTHrP regulates this process. The PTHrP gene promoter(s) will be identified and used to characterise factors which may influence its expression in vivo. Genes differentially expressed during endochondral bone formation, and thus strong candidate genes for this process, will be isolated and their regulation determined by PTHrP.


Coordinator
Josť FERRAZ
UNIVERSIDADE DO ALGARVE
Faro
PORTUGAL
Tel.: +351 289800902
Fax: +351 289817079
E-mail:


Partners
  Luis MALPIQUE
VIVEIRO VILANOVA, S.A.
Vilanova de Milfontes
PORTUGAL
Tel.: +351 283997048
Fax: +351 283997047
E-mail: viveirovilanova@mail.telepac.pt
  Megan DAVIES
MEDICAL RESEARCH COUNCIL
Cambridge
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1223248011
Fax: +44 1223402180
E-mail: mbd@mrc-lmb.cam.ac.uk
  Neil FERGUSON
THE VICTORIA UNIVERSITY OF MANCHESTER
Manchester
UNITED KINGDOM
Tel.: +44 1612757114
Fax: +44 1612752445
E-mail: liz.fay@man.ac.uk
  G.J.M. MARTENS
KATHOLIEKE UNIVERSITEIT NIJMEGEN
Nijmegen
THE NETHERLANDS
Tel.: +31 243653300
Fax: +31 243652126
E-mail: fcm@dbf.kun.nl