Regulation of pituitary gonadotrophins by the decapeptide gonadotrophin-releasing hormone 1 (GnRH1) is crucial for the development and maintenance of reproductive functions. A common amino acid sequence for this decapeptide, designated as 'mammalian' GnRH, has been identified in all mammals thus far investigated with the exception of the guinea pig, in which there are two amino acid substitutions. Among hystricognath rodents, the members of the family Bathyergidae regulate reproduction in response to diverse cues. Thus, highveld mole-rats (Cryptomys hottentotus pretoriae) are social bathyergids in which breeding is restricted to a particular season in the dominant female, but continuously suppressed in subordinate colony members. Elucidation of reproductive control in these animals will be facilitated by characterization of their GnRH1 gene. A partial sequence of GnRH1 precursor cDNA was isolated and characterized. Comparative analysis revealed the highest degree of identity (86%) to guinea pig GnRH1 precursor mRNA. Nevertheless, the deduced amino acid sequence of the mole-rat decapeptide is identical to the 'mammalian' sequence rather than that of guinea pigs. Successful detection of GnRH1-synthesizing neurones using either a guinea pig GnRH1 riboprobe or an antibody against the 'mammalian' decapeptide is consistent with the guinea pig-like sequence for the precursor and the classic 'mammalian' form for the decapeptide. The high degree of identity in the GnRH1 precursor sequence between this Old World mole-rat and the New World guinea pig is consistent with the theory that caviomorphs and phiomorphs originated from a common ancestral line in the Palaeocene to mid Eocene, some 63-45 million years ago.
- Guinea pig
- Luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience