The prolactin receptor (PRLR) was cloned and its tissue distribution characterized in adults of the protandrous hermaphrodite marine teleost, the sea bream (Sparus aurata). An homologous cDNA probe for sea bream PRLR (sbPRLR) was obtained by RT-PCR using gill mRNA. This probe was used to screen intestine and kidney cDNA libraries from which two overlapping clones (1100 and 2425 bp, respectively) were obtained. These clones had 100% sequence identity in the overlapping region (893 bp) and were used to deduce the complete amino acid sequence of sbPRLR. The receptor spans 2640 bp and encodes a protein of 537 amino acids. Features characteristic of PRLR, two pairs of cysteines, WS box, hydrophobic transmembrane domain, box 1, and box 2, were identified and showed a high degree of sequence identity to PRLRs from other vertebrate species. SbPRLR is 29 and 32% identical to tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus) and goldfish (Carassius auratus) PRLRs, respectively. In the sea bream two PRLR transcripts of 2.8 and 3.2 kb were detected in the intestine, kidney, and gills and a single transcript of 2.8 kb was detected in skin and pituitary by Northern blot. Spermiating gonads (more than 95% male tissue; gonado-somatic index of 0.6) contained, in addition to the 2.8-kb transcript, three more transcripts of 1.9, 1.3, and 1.1 kb. RT-PCR, which is a far more sensitive method than Northern blot, detected PRLR mRNA in gills, intestine, brain, pituitary, kidney, liver, gonads, spleen, head-kidney, heart, muscle, and bone. Immunohistochemistry using specific polyclonal antibodies raised against an oligopeptide from the extracellular domain of sbPRLR detected PRLR in several epithelial tissues of juvenile sea bream, including the anterior gut, renal tubule, choroid membrane of the third ventricle, saccus vasculosus, branchial chloride cells, and branchial cartilage.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.