Journal of Endocrinology vol:186 issue:2 pages:387-396
In this paper we report the cloning of the chicken preprothyrotropin-releasing hormone (TRH) cDNA and the study of its hypothalamic distribution. Chicken pre-proTRH contains five exact copies of the TRH progenitor sequence (Glu-His-Pro-Gly) of which only four are flanked by pairs of basic amino acids. In addition, the amino acid sequence contains three sequences that resemble the TRH progenitor sequence but seem to have lost their TRH-coding function during vertebrate evolution. The amino acid sequence homology of preproTRH between different species is very low. Nevertheless, when the tertiary structures are compared using hydrophobicity plots, the resemblance between chicken and rat prepro-TRH is striking. The cloning results also showed that the chicken preproTRH sequence includes neither a rat peptide spacer 4 (Ps4) nor a Ps5 connecting peptide. Comparison of the cDNA sequence with the chicken genome database revealed the presence of two introns, one in the 5' untranslated region, and another downstream from the translation start site. This means that the gene structure of chicken preproTRH resembles the gene stucture of this precursor in mammals. Based on the cDNA sequence, digoxigenin-labelled probes were produced to study the distribution of preproTRH in the chicken brain. By means of in situ hybridization, preproTRH mRNA was detected in the chicken paraventricular nucleus (PVN) and in the lateral hypothalamus (LHy).