The kisspeptin receptor (Kiss1R) is a cognate receptor for kisspeptin (Kiss), and this Kiss-Kiss1R system has been shown to regulate seasonal reproduction in vertebrates. Our previous study found the chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) brain expresses both kiss1 and kiss2 and exhibits sexually dimorphic changes during the seasonal reproductive cycle. The present study cloned two subtypes of kissr from the chub mackerel brain, and their signal transduction pathways to Kiss1 and Kiss2 were characterized in a mammalian cell line. Results of identification showed that kissr1 and kissr2 mRNAs encode 369 and 378 deduced amino acids, respectively, and share 52% similarity in amino acid sequences. In vitro functional analysis revealed that chub mackerel Kiss receptor signals are also preferentially transduced via the protein kinase C (PKC) rather than protein kinase A (PKA) pathway. Synthetic chub mackerel Kiss1-15 and Kiss2-12 peptides showed the highest potency for the activation of KissR1 and KissR2, respectively, stronger than their corresponding Kiss-10 peptides. Tissue distribution analyses indicated that both genes are highly expressed in the brain and that only kissr2 mRNA is expressed in the pituitary of both sexes. Unexpectedly, both kissr1 and kissr2 mRNAs were detected only in the testes. Seasonal expression changes showed higher expression levels of both kissr1 and kissr2 mRNAs in the brain of females during the early vitellogenic period; however, no significant differences were found in the brain of males. Pituitary kissr2 mRNA levels showed no significant variations. In the testes, the kissr1 mRNA expression level increased dramatically at spermiation compared with the immature and post-spawning periods. However, kissr2 mRNA levels in the testes did not vary significantly at different testicular stages. These results suggest that both kissr1 and kissr2 likely participate in the seasonal ovarian development of females, and thus in males, we propose a paracrine or autocrine role for kissr1 in testicular development.
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