Event Abstract

The oxytocin/vasopressin receptor family has at least five members in the gnathostome lineage

  • 1 Uppsala University, Department of Neuroscience, Sweden
  • 2 Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology, Singapore

The vertebrate oxytocin and vasopressin receptors form a subfamily of G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) that mediate a large variety of functions, including social behavior and the regulation of blood pressure, water balance and reproduction. In mammals four family members have been identified and studied, three that respond to vasopressin (VP) named V1A, V1B and V2, and one that is activated by oxytocin (OT), called the OT receptor. The corresponding receptors have been identified in chicken but received different names. Until recently only V1-type receptors have been described in several species of teleost fishes. A thorough phylogenetic and evolutionary analysis of the family has not yet been reported. We have identified family members in several vertebrate genomes and performed phylogenetic analyses in order to create a family tree that may serve as a means of classifying OT/VP-family receptors as well as deducing orthology relationships within the family. We report here the existence of five distinct ancestral gnathostome receptor subtypes in the OT/VP receptor family: V1A, V1B, V2A, V2B and OT receptors. The identification of distinct V2A and V2B receptors has not been previously recognized. We have found these two subtypes in all examined teleost genomes and conclude that the V2A type is orthologous to mammalian V2 receptors whereas the V2B type is orthologous to avian V2 receptors. Thus, there have been differential losses in birds and mammals. Some teleost fish species have had additional gene duplications resulting in up to eight receptor family members. The consequences of this complexity for endocrine functions in fishes, particularly the regulation of water balance, offers to be an interesting avenue of research.


Supported by the Swedish Research Foundation and Carl Trygger’s Foundation.

Keywords: evolution, GPCR, isotocin receptor, mesotocin receptor, oxytocin receptor, vasopressin receptor, vasotocin receptor

Conference: NASCE 2011: The inaugural meeting of the North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology, Ann Arbor, United States, 13 Jul - 16 Jul, 2011.

Presentation Type: Poster

Topic: Molecular evolution

Citation: Ocampo Daza D, Lewicka M, Venkatesh B and Larhammar D (2011). The oxytocin/vasopressin receptor family has at least five members in the gnathostome lineage. Front. Endocrinol. Conference Abstract: NASCE 2011: The inaugural meeting of the North American Society for Comparative Endocrinology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fendo.2011.04.00083

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Received: 21 Jul 2011; Published Online: 09 Aug 2011.

* Correspondence: Mr. Daniel Ocampo Daza, Uppsala University, Department of Neuroscience, Uppsala, SE-75124, Sweden, daniel.ocampo-daza@neuro.uu.se