Characterization of the sea bass melanocortin 5 receptor: a putative role in hepatic lipid metabolism.
The rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) is one of the most widely used fish species in aquaculture and physiological research. In the present paper, we report the first cloning, 3D (three-dimensional) modelling, pharmacological characterization and tissue distribution of two melanocortin (MC) receptors in rainbow trout. Phylogenetic analysis indicates that these receptors are orthologues of the human MC4 and MC5 receptors. We created 3D molecular models of these rainbow trout receptors and their human counterparts. These models suggest greater divergence between the two human receptors than between their rainbow trout counterparts. The pharmacological analyses demonstrated that ACTH (adrenocorticotropic hormone) had surprisingly high affinity for the rainbow trout MC4 and MC5 receptors, whereas alpha-, beta- and gamma-MSH (melanocyte-stimulating hormone) had lower affinity. In second-messenger studies, the cyclic MSH analogues MTII and SHU9119 acted as potent agonist and antagonist respectively at the rainbow trout MC4 receptor, indicating that these ligands are suitable for physiological studies in rainbow trout. Interestingly, we found that the rainbow trout MC4 receptor has a natural high-affinity binding site for zinc ions (0.5 microM) indicating that zinc may play an evolutionary conserved role at this receptor. Reverse transcription PCR indicates that the rainbow trout receptors are expressed both in peripheral tissues and in the central nervous system, including the telencephalon, optic tectum and hypothalamus. Overall, this analysis indicates that the rainbow trout MC4 and MC5 receptors have more in common than their mammalian counterparts, which may suggest that these two receptors have a closer evolutionary relationship than the other MC receptor subtypes.