Here we report that the Kiss1 hexadecapeptide (Kiss1-16) directly regulates the functional form of gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) in the preoptic area (POA) of a scombroid fish model. In this study, we analyzed the localization of two kisspeptin (kiss1 and kiss2) neurons and two kisspeptin receptors (kissr1 and kissr2) in the brain of adult chub mackerel using in situ hybridization to determine whether the kisspeptin receptors co-localize with GnRH1 neurons. The kiss1- and kiss2-expressing neurons were mainly localized in the nucleus recessus lateralis (NRL) and the nucleus of the posterior recess (NRP) in the hypothalamus. Kissr1 was present in the anterior POA and the habenular nucleus. Kissr2 was widely distributed, including in the POA, lateral tuberal nucleus, NRL, and NRP. Notably, GnRH1 was expressed in neurons in the POA, and these neurons co-expressed kissr1. In contrast, kissr2 was expressed abundantly in the vicinity of GnRH1 neurons, but their co-expression did not seem to occur. We also characterized the endogenous mature form of the Kiss1 peptide. An in vitro reporter gene assay clearly showed that Kiss1-16 (HQDMSSYNFNSFGLRY-NH2) was more potent at receptor activation than Kiss1 pentadecapeptide (Kiss1-15), which is the form of Kiss1 found in other fish species. This study strongly suggests that kisspeptin signaling, especially Kiss1 signaling, is important for regulating reproduction in scombroid fish.
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