Structurally conserved C-RFa revealed prolactin releasing activity in vitro and gene expression changes in pituitary of seasonally acclimatized carp
Here we show the cloning and characterization of a novel homolog of prepro C-RFa cDNA from Cyprinus carpió. The deduced preprohormone precursor of 115 amino acids leads to a mature bioactive peptide of 20 amino acids with identical sequence to other teleost C-RFa. Modeling of the mature C-RFa peptide highlighted significant similarity to homologous human PrRP20, specifically the conserved amphipathic system defined by the C-terminal alpha-helix. Clearly, the synthetic C-RFa peptide stimulated prolactin release from primary cultured fish pituitary cells. For the first time, significant variation was shown in C-RFa mRNA and protein levels in the hypothalamus and pituitary between summer- and winter-acclimatized carp. Furthermore, C-RFa protein distribution in carp central nervous tissue was visualized by immunodetection in fibers and cells in hypothalamus, olfactory tract, cerebellum and pituitary stalk. In conclusion, we demonstrated the structure conservation of C-RFa in teleosts and mammals and immunopositive cells and fibers for C-RFa in brain areas. Finally, the increase of C-RFa expression suggests the participation of this hypothalamic factor in the mechanism of modulation in PRL expression in carp.