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Zebrafish. 2004;1(3):203-21. doi: 10.1089/zeb.2004.1.203.

Gonadotropin hormone and receptor sequences from model teleost species.

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Department of Animal Science, University of California, Davis, California 95616, USA.


Fish offer some advantages for the study of vertebrate reproductive physiology. Only a few of the genes encoding the components of the hypothalamic-pituitary-gonadal axis have been identified from model teleosts. This study describes a combination of database searching and molecular approaches to identify the FSH and LH gonadotropin beta-subunits (fshb and lhb, respectively), and the LH receptor (lhr) from two model teleost species: zebrafish (Danio rerio) and Fugu (Takifugu rubripes). Sequence and phylogenetic analyses were used to examine the relationships that exist between gonadotropins and their receptors from species representing several piscine orders. The gonadotropin alpha-subunit (Cga) is highly conserved among teleosts and tetrapods. The presence of a genomic pseudogene (cgap) was also noted in zebrafish. Generally, teleostean FSHbeta protein sequences share less identity with each other than do LHbeta protein sequences, supporting the hypothesis that FSHbeta diverged more rapidly during teleost evolution. Interestingly, and uniquely, zebrafish Fshb lacked two highly conserved cysteine residues in the "determinant loop" which is thought to contribute towards receptor binding and specificity. Teleost gonadotropin receptor sequences clearly diverged into two distinct groups, FSHR and LHR. As has been seen with mammalian gonadotropin receptor transcripts, splice variants of zebrafish lhr were also observed.


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