Novel pituitary actions of TAC3 gene products in fish model: receptor specificity and signal transduction for prolactin and somatolactin α regulation by neurokinin B (NKB) and NKB-related peptide in carp pituitary cells

Endocrinology. 2014 Sep;155(9):3582-96. doi: 10.1210/en.2014-1105. Epub 2014 Jun 27.


TAC3 is a member of tachykinins, and its gene product neurokinin B (NKB) has recently emerged as a key regulator for LH through modulation of kisspeptin/GnRH system within the hypothalamus. In fish models, TAC3 not only encodes NKB but also a novel tachykinin-like peptide called NKB-related peptide (NKBRP), and the pituitary actions of these TAC3 gene products are still unknown. Using grass carp as a model, the direct effects and postreceptor signaling for the 2 TAC3 products were examined at the pituitary level. Grass carp TAC3 was cloned and confirmed to encode NKB and NKBRP similar to that of other fish species. In carp pituitary cells, NKB and NKBRP treatment did not affect LH release and gene expression but up-regulated prolactin (PRL) and somatolactin (SL)α secretion, protein production, and transcript expression. The stimulation by these 2 TAC3 gene products on PRL and SLα release and mRNA levels were mediated by pituitary NK2 and NK3 receptors, respectively. Apparently, NKB- and NKBRP-induced SLα secretion and transcript expression were caused by adenylate cyclase/cAMP/protein kinase A, phospholipase C/inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate/protein kinase C and Ca(2+)/calmodulin/Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II activation. The signal transduction for the corresponding responses on PRL release and mRNA expression were also similar, except that the protein kinase C component was not involved. These findings suggest that the 2 TAC3 gene products do not play a role in LH regulation at the pituitary level in carp species but may serve as novel stimulators for PRL and SLα synthesis and secretion via overlapping postreceptor signaling mechanisms coupled to NK2 and NK3 receptors, respectively.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Carps / genetics
  • Carps / metabolism*
  • Cloning, Molecular
  • Fish Proteins / genetics
  • Fish Proteins / metabolism*
  • Glycoproteins / genetics
  • Glycoproteins / metabolism*
  • Models, Animal
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neurokinin B / chemistry
  • Neurokinin B / genetics
  • Neurokinin B / metabolism*
  • Phylogeny
  • Pituitary Gland / cytology
  • Pituitary Gland / metabolism*
  • Pituitary Hormones / genetics
  • Pituitary Hormones / metabolism*
  • Prolactin / genetics
  • Prolactin / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2 / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / genetics
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3 / metabolism*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Signal Transduction*


  • Fish Proteins
  • Glycoproteins
  • Pituitary Hormones
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-2
  • Receptors, Neurokinin-3
  • somatolactin protein, fish
  • Neurokinin B
  • Prolactin