Cloning of Octopus cephalotocin receptor, a member of the oxytocin/vasopressin superfamily

in Journal of Endocrinology

We reported that the common octopus, Octopus vulgaris, in common with vertebrates, possesses two members of the oxytocin/vasopressin superfamily: octopressin (OP) and cephalotocin (CT). This was the first observation of its kind in invertebrates. As OP and CT have different biological activities, the presence of specific receptors has been proposed. We cloned the cDNA of an orphan receptor from Octopus brain and found it to encode a polypeptide of 397 amino acids that displays sequences characteristic of G-protein coupled receptors. The orphan receptor showed high homology to receptors of the oxytocin/vasopressin superfamily and seemed to conserve the agonist-binding pocket common to the oxytocin and vasopressin receptors. Xenopus oocytes that express the orphan receptor responded to the application of CT by an induction of membrane Cl(-) currents coupled to the inositol phosphate/Ca(2+) pathway. OP and the other members of the oxytocin/vasopressin superfamily did not activate this receptor. HPLC fractionation of the Octopus brain extract combined with an oocyte assay yielded a single substance that was identical to CT. On the basis of these results, we conclude that the cloned receptor is the CT receptor (CTR). Expression of CTR mRNA in Octopus was detected in the central and the peripheral nervous systems, the pancreas, the oviduct and the ovary. This receptor may mediate physiological functions of CT in Octopus such as neurotransmission, reproduction and metabolism.

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