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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2009 Mar;161(1):3-12. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2008.10.017. Epub 2008 Nov 1.

Hormones and receptors in fish: do duplicates matter?

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Department of Biology, University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada V8W 3N5.


Modern fish are the result of major changes in evolution including three possible duplications of the whole genome. Retained duplicate genes are often involved with metabolism, transcription, neurogenic processes and development. Here we examine the consequences of the most recent (350 mya) teleost-specific duplication in five fishes (zebrafish, fugu, medaka, stickleback and rainbow trout) in regard to duplicate copies of hormones and receptors in the secretin superfamily. This subset of genes was selected as the superfamily is limited to ten hormones and their receptors and includes some important members: glucagon, growth hormone-releasing hormone (GHRH), pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP) and vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP). We used reports from the literature and an extensive database search of the fish genomes to evaluate the status of the superfamily and its duplicate genes. We found that all five fish species have an almost complete set of orthologs with the human superfamily of hormones, although they lack secretin and its receptor. Receptor orthologs are present in zebrafish, fugu, medaka, stickleback and to a lesser extent in salmonids. Zebrafish retain duplicate copies for seven hormones and five receptors. Duplicated genes in fugu, medaka, stickleback and salmonids are also present, based mainly on genome annotation or mRNA transcription. Separate chromosome locations and synteny support zebrafish duplicates as the result of large-scale duplications. Novel changes in fish include the modification of a duplicate glucagon receptor to a GLP-1 receptor and, unlike humans, the presence of bioactive and specific PHI and GHRH-like peptide receptors. We conclude that fish duplicates in the secretin superfamily are a rich, mostly unexplored area for endocrine research.

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