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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2003 Dec;134(3):214-9.

Crustacean neuropeptide genes of the CHH/MIH/GIH family: implications from molecular studies.

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Department of Zoology, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong, China.


The crustacean eyestalk CHH/MIH/GIH gene family represents a unique group of neuropeptide originally identified in crustaceans. These neuropeptides shared a high degree of amino acid identity, and the conservation of cysteine residues at the same relative positions. Based on their biological, biochemical, and molecular properties, they can be divided into the CHH and MIH subtypes with two major members in each subtype. In the shrimp, the CHH-subtypes can be divided into two forms (CHH-A and CHH-B). The CHH-A gene also comprises several isoforms which shared a high overall sequence identity. Although the MIH subtypes are postulated to have evolved from the CHH subtypes, the number of major MIH subtypes in each species has yet to be confirmed. While most of the genes consist of the basic plan of three exons and two introns, other alternative spliced variants have recently been described. Moreover, these alternative forms are usually expressed in non-eyestalk tissues. These findings suggest that these neuropeptides may have a broader spectrum of functions in crustaceans. The results from phylogenetic analysis suggest that the evolution of this group of neuropeptides occurs in a manner similar is to the gene duplication and mutation events hypothesized for the origin of the prolactin and growth hormone gene family of the vertebrate pituitary system.

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