Quan, F.B., Bougerol, M., Rigour, F., Kenigfest, N.B., and Tostivint, H. (2012) Characterization of the true ortholog of the urotensin II-related peptide (URP) in teleosts. General and comparative endocrinology. 177(1):205-212.
It has been recently established that the urotensin II (UII) family consists of four distinct paralogs in bony vertebrates, namely UII, and the three UII-related peptides (URPs) called URP, URP1 and URP2. These four peptides are encoded by genes which arose from the two rounds of tetraploidization (2R) which took place early during vertebrate evolution. Up to now, three of them, UII, URP1 and URP2, have been identified in teleosts, while only two, UII and URP, have been reported in tetrapods. The fact that fish URP has not been found in previous studies led to the suggestion that the corresponding gene had been lost in the teleost lineage. In the present study, we show that this view is not correct. A search of the most recent release of the Ensembl genome database led us to identify a novel UII/URP-like gene in teleosts. Using synteny analysis, we demonstrate that this gene corresponds to the true ortholog of the tetrapod URP gene. Molecular cloning of the corresponding cDNA in medaka revealed that URP gene encodes a putative peptide, with the primary structure GEPCFWKYCV. In stickleback, tilapia and takifugu, URP exhibited the same sequence while, in tetraodon, it differed by only one amino acid substitution Gly”↔Ser. In zebrafish, URP appeared totally divergent at its N-terminus with the structure DDTCFWKYCV. In conclusion, the occurrence of a true URP in teleosts shows that the quartet of UII-related genes which arose from 2R has been integrally preserved in this lineage.