The gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is essential during pubertal onset, for its regulation of the synthesis and release of pituitary gonadotropins. Its action is mediated by GnRH receptors (GnRHRs) in the pituitary gonadotrophs. Our previous study demonstrated that the chub mackerel brain expresses three GnRH forms (gnrh1, gnrh2, and gnrh3), and that only GnRH1 neurons innervate anterior pituitary regions. Furthermore, chub mackerel gnrh1 mRNA exhibited a significant increase at pubertal onset. The present study aimed to isolate the functional GnRHR form involved in chub mackerel puberty. The open reading frame of our cloned receptor encodes 428 amino acids and contains seven transmembrane domains. Phylogenetic analysis also indicated clustering with other teleost-type IIB GnRHRs, mainly those involved in reproduction. Reporter gene assay results showed that all four synthetic peptides (GnRH1, GnRH2, GnRH3, and GnRH analogue) bind to the cloned receptor. Three deduced GnRH ligands stimulated luteinizing hormone (LH) release from cultured pituitary cells in vitro. Receptor gene expression was mainly detected in the pituitary and showed an increasing trend in the developing gonadal stages of both sexes during the pubertal process; this process was synchronous with previous studies of follicle-stimulating hormone beta (fshβ) and lhβ gene expression in chub mackerel. These results suggest that the cloned receptor is likely involved in the regulation of pubertal onset in this species. Therefore, we have designated the receptor cmGnRHR1.
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