Vasopressin and its homolog vasotocin regulate hydromineral balance, stress responses, and social behaviors in vertebrates. In mammals, the functions of vasopressin are mediated via three classes of membrane-bound receptors: V1a-type, V1b-type and V2-type. To date, however, only a single class of vasotocin receptor has been identified in teleost fish. Here, cDNAs encoding three putative vasotocin receptors – two distinct V1a-type receptor paralogs (V1a1 and V1a2) and a previously undescribed V2- type receptor (V2) – and a single isotocin receptor were isolated and sequenced from the Amargosa pupfish (Cyprinodon nevadensis amargosae). RT-PCR revealed that mRNAs for these receptors differed in expression patterns with V1a1 mRNAs abundant in the brain, pituitary and testis, V1a2 transcripts at greatest levels in brain, heart and muscle, V2 transcripts most common in the gills, heart and kidney, and isotocin receptor mRNAs abundant in the midbrain, pituitary and gonads. In response to an acute hyperosmotic challenge, pro-vasotocin and V2 mRNA levels in the hypothalamus decreased, while transcripts of V1a1 in the hypothalamus and V1a2 in the gills increased. Partial transcripts for structurally related V2-type, as well as multiple V1a-type, receptors were also identified in other teleosts, suggesting that multiple vasotocin receptors may be present in many Actinopterygii fishes



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