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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1995 Jan 3;92(1):200-4.

Structure, characterization, and expression of the rat oxytocin receptor gene.

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  • 1Laboratory of Molecular Endocrinology, Royal Victoria Hospital, McGill University, Montreal, PQ, Canada.

Erratum in

  • Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 1996 Oct 15;93(21):12051.


The multiple hormonal and neurotransmitter functions of the nonapeptide oxytocin are mediated by specific oxytocin receptors (OTRs). In most target tissues, the number of OTRs is strongly regulated. Specifically, in the uterus, a dramatic OTR upregulation precedes the onset of parturition. To study the molecular mechanisms underlying OTR regulation, we have isolated and characterized recombinant bacteriophage lambda EMBL3 genomic clones containing the rat OTR gene, using sequence information derived from a human myometrial OTR cDNA. The rat OTR gene spans > 20 kb and contains three exons. A 97-bp intron is in the 5' untranslated region and a > 12-kb intron interrupts the coding region between transmembrane domains 6 and 7. The promoter region lacks an apparent TATA or CCAAT box but contains multiple putative interleukin-response elements [six NF-IL6 (C/EBP beta) and four APRF (STAT3) binding motifs], supporting the notion that interleukins may mediate labor induction via transcriptional activation of the OTR gene. The predicted amino acid sequence is 93% identical to the human OTR sequence but only 48% and 38% identical to the rat V1 and V2 vasopressin receptor sequences, respectively. At parturition, the OTR gene is highly expressed in the rat uterus and gives rise to at least three transcripts (2.9, 4.8, and 6.7 kb) which differ in the length of their 3' untranslated regions.

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