The existence of RFamide peptides with a C-terminal LPXRFamide (XZL or Q) motif has been identified in the brain of various vertebrate species. However, the presence of LPXRFamide peptides in the urodele brain is not yet known. In this study, we cloned a cDNA encoding the precursor of LPXRFamide peptides from the newt brain by a combination of 3' and 5' rapid amplification of cDNA ends. The deduced LPXRFamide peptide precursor consisted of 233 amino acid residues, encoding four putative LPXRFamide peptides. All the peptide sequences were flanked by a glycine C-terminal amidation signal and basic amino acid on each end as an endoproteolytic site. Mass spectrometric analyses detected a nonapeptide, two decapeptides and an octapeptide produced from the precursor polypeptide in the brain as endogenous ligands. In situ hybridization further revealed the cellular localization of newt LPXRFamide (nLPXRFa) precursor mRNA in the suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) in the newt hypothalamus. Immunocytochemistry showed a cluster of cell bodies restricted to the SCN and their terminals in the median eminence. To understand the regulatory mechanism of nLPXRFa peptide expression, we further analyzed the effect of melatonin on the expression of nLPXRFa precursor mRNA. Melatonin administration to newts increased the expression of nLPXRFa precursor mRNA in the diencephalon. These results indicate that the urodele hypothalamus possesses LPXRFamide peptides and the expression of LPXRFamide peptides is regulated by melatonin. The localization of nLPXRFa peptides further suggests that these peptides may be involved in the regulation of pituitary hormone release in newts.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism