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Gen Comp Endocrinol. 1997 Aug;107(2):229-39.

Guanylyl cyclase receptors and guanylin-like peptides in reptilian intestine.

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School of Medicine, University of Missouri, Columbia, Missouri, 65212, USA.


Receptors for guanylin and uroguanylin were identified on the mucosal surface of enterocytes lining the intestine of the bobtail skink (Tiliqua rugosa), king's skink (Egernia kingii), and knight anole (Anolis equestris) by receptor autoradiography using 125I-ST (Escherichia coli heat-stable enterotoxin) as the radioligand. Specific, high-affinity binding of 125I-ST to receptors was found on the microvillus border of enterocytes and little or no specific binding of 125I-ST was observed in other strata comprising the gut wall. The American alligator (Alligator mississippensis) also exhibited receptor binding, but unlike the other three species had relatively high levels of apparent nonspecific binding. A comparison of intestinal cGMP accumulation responses between the American alligator and the knight anole demonstrated a greater magnitude of cGMP responses to ST and guanylin in vitro in the knight anole relative to the tissue cGMP accumulation responses of alligators. Treatment with ST resulted in markedly greater tissue cGMP accumulation responses in both species compared to treatment with guanylin. To complete a paracrine signaling pathway in reptilian intestine, guanylin-like peptides that stimulated cGMP accumulation in human T84 intestinal cells were isolated from the intestinal mucosa of alligators. We conclude that functional receptor-guanylyl cyclases and one or more endogenous guanylin/uroguanylin-like peptides occur in the intestinal tract of reptiles as well as in the intestines of mammals and birds. Thus, higher vertebrates have a conserved signaling pathway that regulates intestinal function through the first-messenger peptides, guanylin and/or uroguanylin, and the intracellular second messenger, cGMP.

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