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Peptides. 2012 Jul;36(1):29-38. doi: 10.1016/j.peptides.2012.04.019. Epub 2012 Apr 30.

Molecular identification of GHS-R and GPR38 in Suncus murinus.

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Area of Regulatory Biology, Division of Life Science, Graduate School of Science and Engineering, Saitama University, Sakura-ku, Saitama, Japan.


We previously identified ghrelin and motilin genes in Suncus murinus (suncus), and also revealed that motilin induces phase III-like strong contractions in the suncus stomach in vivo, as observed in humans and dogs. Moreover, repeated migrating motor complexes were found in the gastrointestinal tract of suncus at regular 120-min intervals. We therefore proposed suncus as a small laboratory animal model for the study of gastrointestinal motility. In the present study, we identified growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHS-R) and motilin receptor (GPR38) genes in the suncus. We also examined their tissue distribution throughout the body. The amino acids of suncus GHS-R and GPR38 showed high homology with those of other mammals and shared 42% amino acid identity. RT-PCR showed that both the receptors were expressed in the hypothalamus, medulla oblongata, pituitary gland and the nodose ganglion in the central nervous system. In addition, GHS-R mRNA expressions were detected throughout the stomach and intestine, whereas GPR38 was expressed in the gastric muscle layer, lower intestine, lungs, heart, and pituitary gland. These results suggest that ghrelin and motilin affect gut motility and energy metabolism via specific receptors expressed in the gastrointestinal tract and/or in the central nervous system of suncus.

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