The corticotropin releasing hormone receptors (CRHR) and the arthropod diuretic hormone 44 receptors (DH44R) are structurally and functionally related members of the G protein-coupled receptors (GPCR) of the secretin-like receptor superfamily. We show here that they derive from a bilaterian predecessor. In protostomes, the receptor became DH44R that has been identified and functionally characterised in several arthropods but the gene seems to be absent from nematode genomes. Duplicate DH44R genes (DH44 R1 and DH44R2) have been described in some arthropods resulting from lineage-specific duplications. Recently, CRHR-DH44R-like receptors have been identified in the genomes of some lophotrochozoans (molluscs, which have a lineage-specific gene duplication, and annelids) as well as representatives of early diverging deuterostomes. Vertebrates have previously been reported to have two CRHR receptors that were named CRHR1 and CRHR2. To resolve their origin we have analysed recently assembled genomes from representatives of early vertebrate divergencies including elephant shark, spotted gar and coelacanth. We show here by analysis of synteny conservation that the two CRHR genes arose from a common ancestral gene in the early vertebrate tetraploidizations (2R) approximately 500 million years ago. Subsequently, the teleost-specific tetraploidization (3R) resulted in a duplicate of CRHR1 that has been lost in some teleost lineages. These results help distinguish orthology and paralogy relationships and will allow studies of functional conservation and changes during evolution of the individual members of the receptor family and their multiple native peptide agonists.
Keywords: CRH and DH44 receptors; Duplication; Evolution.
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