GPR7 and GPR8, orphan G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) genes, expressed in the brain and periphery share highest sequence identity to each other and significant similarity with opioid and somatostatin receptors. To further our knowledge of GPR7's physiological function, we performed in situ hybridization analyses of rat brain to reveal specific patterns of expression in the brain. GPR7 mRNA was found to be discretely localized in areas of the amygdala, hippocampus, hypothalamus and cortex. We previously reported that GPR7 was highly conserved in both human and rodent orthologs while GPR8 was not found in the rodent . We speculated that GPR8 originated after the divergence of the human and rodent. Using primers designed from human GPR8, we isolated lemur GPR8 and subsequently aligned human, monkey, and lemur GPR8 orthologs to design primers recognizing highly conserved regions of GPR8. Using these primers, orthologs of GPR7 and GPR8 were isolated by the PCR from rabbit, tree shrew, and flying lemur, as well as GPR7 in the rat. Subsequent analysis of the clones obtained demonstrated that both GPR7 and GPR8 sequences were highly conserved amongst the species studied, but a rodent GPR8 was not isolated. The absence of a GPR8 gene in the rodent suggests that GPR8 originated from gene duplication of GPR7 after the rodent line diverged from the rabbit, tree shrew, flying lemur, lemur, monkey and human lines. In addition, the taxonomic distribution of GPR8 is consistent with molecular studies grouping rabbits with primates, tree shrews and flying lemurs rather than with rodents.
Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.