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Front Endocrinol (Lausanne). 2012 Nov 19;3:140. doi: 10.3389/fendo.2012.00140. eCollection 2012.

Evolution of vertebrate GnRH receptors from the perspective of a Basal vertebrate.

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  • 1Department of Molecular, Cellular and Biomedical Sciences, Center for Molecular and Comparative Endocrinology, University of New Hampshire Durham, NH, USA.


This minireview provides the current status on gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptors (GnRH-R) in vertebrates, from the perspective of a basal vertebrate, the sea lamprey, and provides an evolutionary scheme based on the recent advance of whole genome sequencing. In addition, we provide a perspective on the functional divergence and evolution of the receptors. In this review we use the phylogenetic classification of vertebrate GnRH receptors that groups them into three clusters: type I (mammalian and non-mammalian), type II, and type III GnRH receptors. New findings show that the sea lamprey has two type III-like GnRH receptors and an ancestral type GnRH receptor that is more closely related to the type II-like receptors. These two novel GnRH receptors along with lGnRH-R-1 share similar structural features and amino acid motifs common to other known gnathostome type II/III receptors. Recent data analyses of the lamprey genome provide strong evidence that two whole rounds of genome duplication (2R) occurred prior to the gnathostome-agnathan split. Based on our current knowledge, it is proposed that lGnRH-R-1 evolved from an ancestor of the type II receptor following a vertebrate-shared genome duplication and that the two type III receptors resulted from a duplication within lamprey of a gene derived from a lineage shared by many vertebrates.


G protein-coupled receptors; basal vertebrate; evolution; gonadotropin-releasing hormone receptors; hormone; lamprey; pituitary; receptor

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