Sequence and organization of coelacanth neurohypophysial hormone genes: evolutionary history of the vertebrate neurohypophysial hormone gene locus.
ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: The mammalian neurohypophysial hormones, vasopressin and oxytocin are involved in osmoregulation and uterine smooth muscle contraction respectively. All jawed vertebrates contain at least one homolog each of vasopressin and oxytocin whereas jawless vertebrates contain a single neurohypophysial hormone called vasotocin. The vasopressin homolog in non-mammalian vertebrates is vasotocin; and the oxytocin homolog is mesotocin in non-eutherian tetrapods, mesotocin and [Phe2]mesotocin in lungfishes, and isotocin in ray-finned fishes. The genes encoding vasopressin and oxytocin genes are closely linked in the human and rodent genomes in a tail-to-tail orientation. In contrast, their pufferfish homologs (vasotocin and isotocin) are located on the same strand of DNA with isotocin gene located upstream of vasotocin gene separated by five genes, suggesting that this locus has experienced rearrangements in either mammalian or ray-finned fish lineage, or in both lineages. The coelacanths occupy a unique phylogenetic position close to the divergence of the mammalian and ray-finned fish lineages. RESULTS: We have sequenced a coelacanth (Latimeria menadoensis) BAC clone encompassing the neurohypophysial hormone genes and investigated the evolutionary history of the vertebrate neurohypophysial hormone gene locus within a comparative genomics framework. The coelacanth contains vasotocin and mesotocin genes like non-mammalian tetrapods. The coelacanth genes are present on the same strand of DNA with no intervening genes, with the vasotocin gene located upstream of the mesotocin gene. Nucleotide sequences of the second exons of the two genes are under purifying selection implying a regulatory function. We have also analyzed the neurohypophysial hormone gene locus in the genomes of opossum, chicken and Xenopus tropicalis. The opossum contains two tandem copies of vasopressin and mesotocin genes. The vasotocin and mesotocin genes in chicken and Xenopus, and the vasopressin and mesotocin genes in opossum are linked tail-to-head similar to their orthologs in coelacanth and unlike their homologs in human and rodents. CONCLUSION: Our results indicate that the neurohypophysial hormone gene locus has experienced independent rearrangements in both placental mammals and teleost fishes. The coelacanth genome appears to be more stable than mammalian and teleost fish genomes. As such, it serves as a valuable outgroup for studying the evolution of mammalian and teleost fish genomes.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Vasopressin and oxytocin are mammalian neurohypophysial hormones with distinct functions. Vasopressin is involved mainly in osmoregulation and oxytocin is involved primarily in parturition and lactation. Jawed vertebrates contain at least one homolog each of vasopressin and oxytocin, whereas only a vasopressin-family hormone, vasotocin, has been identified in jawless vertebrates. The genes encoding vasopressin and oxytocin are closely linked tail-to-tail in eutherian mammals whereas their homologs in chicken, Xenopus and coelacanth (vasotocin and mesotocin) are linked tail-to-head. In contrast, their pufferfish homologs, vasotocin and isotocin, are located on the same strand of DNA with isotocin located upstream of vasotocin and separated by five genes. These differences in the arrangement of the two genes in different bony vertebrate lineages raise questions about their origin and ancestral arrangement. To trace the origin of these genes, we have sequenced BAC clones from the neurohypophysial gene loci in a cartilaginous fish, the elephant shark (Callorhinchus milii), and in a jawless vertebrate, the Japanese lamprey (Lethenteron japonicum). We have also analyzed the neurohypophysial hormone gene locus in an invertebrate chordate, the amphioxus (Branchiostoma floridae). RESULTS: The elephant shark neurohypophysial hormone genes encode vasotocin and oxytocin, and are linked tail-to-head like their homologs in coelacanth and non-eutherian tetrapods. Besides the hypothalamus, the two genes are also expressed in the ovary. In addition, the vasotocin gene is expressed in the kidney, rectal gland and intestine. These expression profiles indicate a paracrine role for the two hormones. The lamprey locus contains a single neurohypophysial hormone gene, the vasotocin. The synteny of genes in the lamprey locus is conserved in elephant shark, coelacanth and tetrapods but disrupted in teleost fishes. The amphioxus locus encodes a single neurohypophysial hormone, designated as [Ile4]vasotocin. CONCLUSION: The vasopressin- and oxytocin-family of neurohypophysial hormones evolved in a common ancestor of jawed vertebrates through tandem duplication of the ancestral vasotocin gene. The duplicated genes were linked tail-to-head like their homologs in elephant shark, coelacanth and non-eutherian tetrapods. In contrast to the conserved linkage of the neurohypophysial genes in these vertebrates, the neurohypophysial hormone gene locus has experienced extensive rearrangements in the teleost lineage.
Project description:In view of the well-established role of neurohypophysial hormones in osmoregulation of terrestrial vertebrates, lungfishes are a key group for study of the molecular and functional evolution of the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system. Here we report on the primary structure of the precursors encoding vasotocin (VT) and [Phe2]mesotocin ([Phe2]MT) of the Australian lungfish, Neoceratodus forsteri. Genomic sequence analysis and Northern blot analysis confirmed that [Phe2]MT is a native oxytocin family peptide in the Australian lungfish, although it has been reported that the lungfish neurohypophysis contains MT. The VT precursor consists of a signal peptide, VT, that is connected to a neurophysin by a Gly-Lys-Arg sequence, and a copeptin moiety that includes a Leu-rich core segment and a glycosylation site. In contrast, the [Phe2]MT precursor does not contain a copeptin moiety. These structural features of the lungfish precursors are consistent with those in tetrapods, but different from those in teleosts where both VT and isotocin precursors contain a copeptin-like moiety without a glycosylation site at the carboxyl terminals of their neurophysins. Comparison of the exon/intron organization also supports homology of the lungfish [Phe2]MT gene with tetrapod oxytocin/MT genes, rather than with teleost isotocin genes. Moreover, molecular phylogenetic analysis shows that neurohypophysial hormone genes of the lungfish are closely related to those of the toad. The present results along with previous morphological findings indicate that the hypothalamo-neurohypophysial system of the lungfish has evolved along the tetrapod lineage, whereas the teleosts form a separate lineage, both within the class Osteichthyes.
Project description:[Arg8]Vasotocin (AVT) is considered to be the most primitive known vertebrate neurohypophyseal peptide of the vasopressin/oxytocin hormone family and may thus be ancestral to all the other vertebrate peptide hormones. The molecular evolution of the corresponding receptor family has now been studied by cloning an AVT receptor, consisting of 435 amino acid residues, from the teleost fish, the white sucker Catostomus commersoni. Frog oocytes injected with the AVT receptor-encoding cRNA respond to the application of AVT, but not to its structural and functional counterpart isotocin, by an induction of membrane chloride currents indicating the coupling of the AVT receptor to the inositol phosphate/calcium pathway. The pharmacological properties of the expressed AVT receptor show that it represents, or is closely related to, an ancestral nonapeptide receptor: oxytocin, aspargtocin, mesotocin, and vasopressin activated the receptor, but other members of the vasopressin/oxytocin family tested showed little or no potency; antagonists of the mammalian vasopressin V1 and oxytocin receptors blocked the AVT response. Comparison of AVT receptor sequences spanning transmembrane domains two to five, deduced by cloning cDNAs from the Pacific salmon Oncorhynchus kisutch, the cave-dwelling fish Astyanax fasciatus, and the anuran Xenopus laevis, with those of their mammalian counterparts emphasizes amino acid residues that are involved in hormone binding. The presence of a 5.0-kb transcript in various teleost tissues (pituitary, liver, gills, swim bladder, and lateral line) points to a physiological role for the fish AVT receptor in metabolic, osmoregulatory, and sensory processes.
Project description:The neurohypophysial hormones, arginine vasotocin and isotocin, regulate both hydromineral balance and social behaviors in fish. In the amphibious mudskipper, Periophthalmus modestus, we previously found arginine-vasotocin-specific regulation of aggressive behavior, including migration of the submissive subordinate into water. This migration also implies the need for adaptation to dehydration. Here, we examined the effects of arginine vasotocin and isotocin administration on the amphibious behavior of individual mudskippers in vivo. The mudskippers remained in the water for an increased period of time after 1-8 h of intracerebroventricular (ICV) injection with 500 pg/g arginine vasotocin or isotocin. The 'frequency of migration' was decreased after ICV injection of arginine vasotocin or isotocin, reflecting a tendency to remain in the water. ICV injections of isotocin receptor antagonist with arginine vasotocin or isotocin inhibited all of these hormonal effects. In animals kept out of water, mRNA expression of brain arginine vasotocin and isotocin precursors increased 3- and 1.5-fold, respectively. Given the relatively wide distribution of arginine vasotocin fibres throughout the mudskipper brain, induction of arginine vasotocin and isotocin under terrestrial conditions may be involved also in the preference for an aquatic habitat as ligands for brain isotocin receptors.
Project description:The nonapeptides of neurohypophysis, vasotocin and mesotocin, detected in most vertebrates, are replaced by vasopressin and oxytocin in mammals. Using bioinformatics methods, we determined the spectrum of receptor subtypes for these hormones in mammals and their physiological effects in the kidneys of rats. A search for sequences similar to the vertebrate vasotocin receptor by proteomes and transcriptomas of nine mammalian species and the rat genome revealed three subtypes of vasopressin receptors (V1a, V1b, and V2) and one type of oxytocin receptors. In the kidneys of non-anesthetized rats, which received a water load of 2 ml per 100 g of body weight, three effects of vasopressin were revealed: 1) increased reabsorption of water and sodium, 2) increased excretion of potassium ions, and 3) increased excretion of sodium ions. It has been suggested that each of the effects on the kidney is associated with selective stimulation of the vasopressin receptor subtypes V2, V1b, and V1a depending on the concentration of nonapeptide. In experiments on non-anaesthetized rats with a water load, the injection of oxytocin reduces the reabsorption of solute-free water in the kidneys and increases the excretion of sodium ions. The possible physiological mechanisms behind the realization of both effects with the participation of a single type of oxytocin receptors are being analyzed. Thus, the spectrum of activated receptor subtypes varies depending on the current concentration of neurohypophyseal hormones, as a result of which the predominant effect on renal function changes, which ensures precise regulation of water-salt homeostasis.
Project description:The neurohypophyseal hormones vasopressin and oxytocin are produced and released within the mammalian brain, where they act via multiple receptor subtypes. The neural distributions of these receptors, for example, V1a and oxytocin receptors, have been well described in many mammals. In birds, the distribution of binding sites for the homologous neuropeptides, vasotocin (VT) and mesotocin, has been studied in several species by using synthetic radioligands designed to bind to mammalian receptors. Such binding studies, however, may not reveal the specific distributions of each receptor subtype. To identify and map the receptors likely to bind VT and mesotocin, we generated partial cDNA sequences for four VT receptor subtypes, VT1, VT2 (V1b), VT3 (oxytocin-like), and VT4 (V1a), in white-throated sparrow (Zonotrichia albicollis) and zebra finch (Taeniopygia guttata). These genes shared high sequence identity with the homologous avian and mammalian neurohypophyseal peptide receptors, and we found evidence for VT1, VT3, and VT4 receptor mRNA expression throughout the brains of both species. As has been described in rodents, there was striking interspecific and intraspecific variation in the densities and distribution of these receptors. For example, whereas the VT1 receptor mRNA was more widespread in zebra finch brain, the VT3 (oxytocin-like) receptor mRNA was more prevalent in the sparrow brain. Although VT2 (V1b) receptor mRNA was abundant in the pituitary, it was not found in the brain. Because of their association with brain regions implicated in social behavior, the VT1, VT3, and VT4 receptors are all likely candidates for mediating the behavioral effects of VT.
Project description:The nucleotide sequences of cloned cDNAs encoding the precursors for vasotocin and isotocin have been elucidated by analyzing a lambda gt11 library constructed from poly(A)+ RNA from the hypothalamic region of the teleost fish Catostomus commersoni. Screening of the library was carried out with synthetic oligonucleotide probes deduced from the amino acid sequences of the nonapeptides vasotocin and isotocin. The cDNA nucleotide sequences predict isotocin and vasotocin prohormone precursors each consisting of a signal peptide, a hormone moiety, and a neurophysin-like molecule. However, in comparison to their mammalian counterparts, both fish neurophysins are extended at their C termini by an approximately 30 amino acid sequence with a leucine-rich core segment. These extensions show striking similarities with the glycopeptide moiety (the so-called copeptin) present in mammalian vasopressin precursors, except that they lack the consensus sequence for N-glycosylation. These data suggest that mammalian copeptin is derived from the C terminus of an ancestral neurophysin.
Project description:We have asked whether comparative genome analysis and rat transgenesis can be used to identify functional regulatory domains in the gene locus encoding the hypothalamic neuropeptides oxytocin (OT) and vasopressin. Isotocin (IT) and vasotocin (VT) are the teleost homologues of these genes. A contiguous stretch of 46 kb spanning the Fugu IT-VT locus has been sequenced, and nine putative genes were found. Unlike the OT and vasopressin genes, which are closely linked in the mammalian genome in a tail-to-tail orientation, Fugu IT and VT genes are linked head to tail and are separated by five genes. When a cosmid containing the Fugu IT-VT locus was introduced into the rat genome, we found that the Fugu IT gene was specifically expressed in rat hypothalamic oxytocinergic neurons and mimicked the response of the endogenous OT gene to an osmotic stimulus. These data show that cis-acting elements and trans-acting factors mediating the cell-specific and physiological regulation of the OT and IT genes are conserved between mammals and fish. The combination of Fugu genome analysis and transgenesis in a mammal is a powerful tool for identifying and analyzing conserved vertebrate regulatory elements.
Project description:With a strong tendency to socialise, the zebrafish is a useful model to study social behaviour, with implications for better treatments of social impairments, for instance in autism spectrum disorders. Although oxytocin is crucial for social behaviour in mammals, the importance of the fish orthologue - isotocin or zebrafish oxytocin (zOT) - for social behaviour in zebrafish is unclear. The aims of this study were firstly, to elucidate the receptor specificity of zOT and the related vasotocin or zebrafish vasopressin (zVP; the orthologue of mammalian vasopressin) and the nonpeptidergic oxytocin receptor antagonist L-368,899, and secondly to investigate if L-368,899 inhibits social preference in zebrafish. The potencies of ligands were evaluated for zOT/zVP family receptors in HEK293 cells. Adult and larval zebrafish were treated with L-368,899 or vehicle and subsequently assessed for social behaviour and anxiety (adults only). The antagonist L-368,899 specifically inhibited the two zOT receptors, but not the two zVP-1 receptors. The antagonist decreased social preference in adult and larval zebrafish. It did not affect anxiety in adults. These results indicate that endogenous zOT, and possibly zVP, is involved in social behaviour in zebrafish via either or both of the two zOT receptors, and show promise for future explorations of the anatomy and evolution of networks underlying social behaviour.
Project description:The mammalian nonapeptide hormones, vasopressin and oxytocin, are known to be potent regulators of social behaviour. Teleost fishes possess vasopressin and oxytocin homologues known as arginine vasotocin (AVT) and isotocin (IT), respectively. The role of these homologous nonapeptides in mediating social behaviour in fishes has received far less attention. The extraordinarily large number of teleost fish species and the impressive diversity of their social systems provide us with a rich test bed for investigating the role of nonapeptides in regulating social behaviour. Existing studies, mostly focused on AVT, have revealed relationships between the nonapeptides, and both social behaviour and dominance status in fishes. To date, much of the work on endogenous nonapeptides in fish brains has measured genomic or neuroanatomical proxies of nonapeptide production rather than the levels of these molecules in the brain. In this study, we measure biologically available AVT and IT levels in the brains of Neolamprologus pulcher, a cooperatively breeding cichlid fish, using high performance liquid chromatography with fluorescence detection. We found that brain AVT levels were higher in the subordinate than in dominant animals, and levels of IT correlated negatively with the expression of affiliative behaviour. We contrast these results with previous studies, and we discuss the role the nonapeptide hormones may play in the regulation of social behaviour in this highly social animal.