Söderberg, C., Wraith, A., Ringvall, M., Yan, Y.-L., Postlethwait, J.H., Brodin, L., and Larhammar, D. (2000) Zebrafish genes for neuropeptide Y and peptide YY reveal origin by chromosome duplication from an ancestral gene linked to the homeobox cluster. Journal of neurochemistry. 75(3):908-918.
Neuropeptide Y (NPY) and peptide YY (PYY) are related 36-amino acid peptides. NPY is widely distributed in the nervous system and has several physiological roles. PYY serves as an intestinal hormone as well as a neuropeptide. We report here cloning of the npy and pyy genes in zebrafish (Danio rerio). NPY differs at only one to four amino acid positions from NPY in other jawed vertebrates. Zebrafish PYY differs at three positions from PYY from other fishes and at 10 positions from mammals. In situ hybridization showed that neurons containing NPY mRNA have a widespread distribution in the brain, particularly in the telencephalon, optic tectum, and rhombencephalon. PYY mRNA was found mainly in brainstem neurons, as reported previously for vertebrates as divergent as the rat and the lamprey, suggesting an essential role for PYY in these neurons. PYY mRNA was observed also in the telencephalon. These results were confirmed by immunocytochemistry. As in the human, the npy gene is located adjacent to homeobox (hox) gene cluster A (copy a in zebrafish), whereas the pyy gene is located close to hoxBa. This suggests that npy and pyy arose from a common ancestral gene in a chromosomal duplication event that also involved the hox gene clusters. As zebrafish has seven hox clusters, it is possible that additional NPY family genes exist or have existed. Also, the NPY receptor system seems to be more complex in zebrafish than in mammals, with at least two receptor genes without known mammalian orthologues.