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      In the African Lungfish Met-Enkephalin and Leu-Enkephalin Are Derived from Separate Genes: Cloning of a Proenkephalin cDNA

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          A full-length proenkephalin cDNA (accession number: AF232670) was cloned from an African lungfish (Protopterus annectens) brain cDNA library. The 1,351-bp African lungfish proenkephalin contains an open reading frame that codes 266 amino acids and a stop codon. Within the sequence of lungfish proenkephalin there are 5 pentapeptide opioid sequences (all YGGFM), 1 octapeptide opioid sequence (YGGFMRSL) and 1 heptapeptide opioid sequence (YGGFMGY). A Leu-enkephalin sequence was conspicuously absent in lungfish proenkephalin. These results, coupled with observations on the organization of amphibian proenkephalin and mammalian proenkephalin, indicate that among the Sarcopterygii (lobed finned fish and tetrapods), the appearance of a Leu-enkephalin sequence in proenkephalin may have evolved in either the ancestral amniotes or the ancestral mammals, but not earlier in sarcopterygian evolution. Furthermore, the detection of neurons in the lungfish CNS that are only immunopositive for Met-enkephalin, coupled with earlier anatomical studies on the presence of neurons in the lungfish CNS that are only immunopositive for Leu-enkephalin, indicates that a Leu-enkephalin-coding opioid gene must be present in the CNS of the lungfish. This gene may be the lungfish form of prodynorphin. Given the phylogenetic position of the lungfish in vertebrate evolution, the putative Leu-enkephalin-coding gene must have evolved in the ancestral sarcopterygian vertebrates, or in the ancestral gnathostomes. The apparent slow rate of lungfish evolution makes these organisms interesting models for investigating the evolution of the opioid/orphanin gene family.

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          Isolation and structure of the endogenous agonist of opioid receptor-like ORL1 receptor.

          The ORL1 receptor, an orphan receptor whose human and murine complementary DNAs have recently been characterized, structurally resembles opioid receptors and is negatively coupled with adenylate cyclase. ORL1 transcripts are particularly abundant in the central nervous system. Here we report the isolation, on the basis of its ability to inhibit the cyclase in a stable recombinant CHO(ORL1+) cell line, of a neuropeptide that resembles dynorphin A9 and whose amino acid sequence is Phe-Gly-Gly-Phe-Thr-Gly-Ala-Arg-Lys-Ser-Ala-Arg-Lys-Leu-Ala-Asn-Gln. The rat-brain cDNA encodes the peptide flanked by Lys-Arg proteolytic cleavage motifs. The synthetic heptadecapeptide potently inhibits adenylate cyclase in CHO(ORL1+) cells in culture and induces hyperalgesia when administered intracerebroventricularly to mice. Taken together, these data indicate that the newly discovered heptadecapeptide is an endogenous agonist of the ORL1 receptor and that it may be endowed with pro-nociceptive properties.
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            Evolutionary relationships of the coelacanth, lungfishes, and tetrapods based on the 28S ribosomal RNA gene.

            The origin of land vertebrates was one of the major transitions in the history of vertebrates. Yet, despite many studies that are based on either morphology or molecules, the phylogenetic relationships among tetrapods and the other two living groups of lobe-finned fishes, the coelacanth and the lungfishes, are still unresolved and debated. Knowledge of the relationships among these lineages, which originated back in the Devonian, has profound implications for the reconstruction of the evolutionary scenario of the conquest of land. We collected the largest molecular data set on this issue so far, about 3,500 base pairs from seven species of the large 28S nuclear ribosomal gene. All phylogenetic analyses (maximum parsimony, neighbor-joining, and maximum likelihood) point toward the hypothesis that lungfishes and coelacanths form a monophyletic group and are equally closely related to land vertebrates. This evolutionary hypothesis complicates the identification of morphological or physiological preadaptations that might have permitted the common ancestor of tetrapods to colonize land. This is because the reconstruction of its ancestral conditions would be hindered by the difficulty to separate uniquely derived characters from shared derived characters in the coelacanth/lungfish and tetrapod lineages. This molecular phylogeny aids in the reconstruction of morphological evolutionary steps by providing a framework; however, only paleontological evidence can determine the sequence of morphological acquisitions that allowed lobe-finned fishes to colonize land.
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              Immunocytochemical analysis of proenkephalin-derived peptides in the amphibian hypothalamus and optic tectum


                Author and article information

                S. Karger AG
                October 2000
                27 October 2000
                : 72
                : 4
                : 224-230
                aDepartment of Biological Sciences, University of Denver, Colo., USA; bLaboratory of Cellular and Molecular Neuroendocrinology, European Institute for Peptide Research (IFRMP 23), INSERM U 413, UA CNRS, University of Rouen, Mont-Saint-Aignan, France; cInstitute of Comparative Anatomy, University of Genova, Italy
                54591 Neuroendocrinology 2000;72:224–230
                © 2000 S. Karger AG, Basel

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                Page count
                Figures: 3, References: 25, Pages: 7
                Hypothalamic Neurons: Regulation and Gene Expression


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