A gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH)-like molecule was previously identified in a gastropod, Aplysia californica, and named ap-GnRH. In this study, we cloned the full-length cDNA of a putative ap-GnRH receptor (ap-GnRHR) and functionally authenticated this receptor as a bona fide ap-GnRHR. This receptor contains two potential translation start sites, each accompanied by a Kozak sequence, suggesting the translation of a long and a short form of the receptor is possible. The putative ap-GnRHR maintains the conserved structural motifs of GnRHR-like receptors and shares 45% sequence identity with the octopus GnRHR. The expression of the putative ap-GnRHR short form is ubiquitous in all tissues examined, whereas the long form is only expressed in parts of the central nervous system, osphradium, small hermaphroditic duct, and ovotestis. The cDNA encoding the long or the short receptor was transfected into the Drosophila S2 cell line and subject to a radioreceptor assay using 125I-labeled ap-GnRH as the radioligand. Further, the transfected cells were treated with various concentrations of ap-GnRH and measured for the accumulation of cAMP and inositol monophosphate (IP1). Radioreceptor assay revealed that only the long receptor bound specifically to the radioligand. Further, only the long receptor responded to ap-GnRH with an increased accumulation of IP1, but not cAMP. Our studies show that despite the more prevalent expression of the short receptor, only the long receptor is the functional ap-GnRHR. Importantly, this is only the second report on the authentication of a protostome GnRHR, and based on the function and the phylogenetic grouping of ap-GnRHR, we suggest that this receptor is more similar to protostome corazonin receptors than chordate GnRHRs.
Kavanaugh, Scott I and Tsai, Pei-San, "Functional Authentication of a Novel Gastropod Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone Receptor Reveals Unusual Features and Evolutionary Insight." (2016). Integrative Physiology Faculty Contributions. 11.