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Gene. 2012 Feb 25;494(2):174-80. doi: 10.1016/j.gene.2011.12.019. Epub 2011 Dec 17.

Genetic variation in the C-terminal domain of arginine vasotocin receptor in avian species.

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Wildlife Research Center, Kyoto University, 2-24 Tanaka-Sekiden-cho, Sakyo, Kyoto,606-8203, Japan.


Arginine vasotocin (AVT) is a neurohypophysial hormone that plays an essential role in various social behaviours. We investigated the degree of polymorphisms in the C-terminal domain of the AVT V2-type receptor (AVT2R) among avian species to determine the mechanism by which genetic polymorphisms in the neuropeptide receptor may contribute to different levels of signal transduction. In passerine birds, AVT2R was characterised by 2 variable regions, both of which were managed by insertion/deletion (indel); however, indels were rarely found in other avian taxa. The presence or absence of deletions in passerines largely affected the properties of the predicted palmitoylation sites at the proximal part of the C-terminal tail. Moreover, we detected intraspecific polymorphisms in estrildid finches based on the number of tri-amino acid (GHQ/EHQ/EHR) repeats in another variable region. Our results indicate that amino acid substitutions and length variation at the C-terminus may impact subsequent signal transduction and affect behavioural traits in wild birds.

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