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J Pineal Res. 2006 Sep;41(2):166-74.

Melatonin receptor of a reef fish with lunar-related rhythmicity: cloning and daily variations.

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Sesoko Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Japan.


Melatonin receptors are expressed in neural and peripheral tissues and mediate melatonin actions on the regulation of circadian rhythms in various species. For overall understanding of 'circa' rhythms in the golden rabbitfish, Siganus guttatus, which exhibits restricted lunar-related rhythms and spawns synchronously around the first quarter moon, the aim of the present study was to clone a melatonin receptor (Mel(lb)) cDNA and examine daily variations of Mel(lb) mRNA expression in certain tissues of the rabbitfish. The full-length Mel(lb) cDNA (1808 bp) contained an open reading frame to encode a protein with a length of 354 amino acids, which was highly homologous to a protein of nonmammalian species. Northern blot analysis showed transcripts of Mel(lb) in the brain and retina. Real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction analysis also revealed expression of Mel(lb) in all tissues tested. Significantly high expression of the gene during daytime was evident in the liver and kidney. When the expression of Mel(lb) was examined in the brain and retina under conditions of light/dark cycles or constant darkness, daily and circadian variations of gene expression with two increases during daytime and nighttime for the brain and a single increase during nighttime for the retina were recognized. Moreover, daily variations in the expression of Mel(lb) were observed in the cultured pineal gland. These results suggest that the melatonin receptor plays a role in integration of melatonin actions in various tissues and that daily variations of Mel(lb) in the neural tissues may be related to regulation of circadian clock.

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