Cloning and characterization of human urocortin

Endocrinology. 1996 May;137(5):2167-70. doi: 10.1210/endo.137.5.8612563.


Urocortin, a new member of the CRF peptide family which also includes urotensin I and sauvagine, was recently cloned from the rat midbrain. The synthetic replicate of urocortin was found to bind with high affinity to type 1 and type 2 CRF receptors and, based upon its anatomic localization within the brain, was proposed to be a natural ligand for the type 2 CRF receptors. Using a genomic library, we have cloned the human counterpart of rat urocortin and localized it to human chromosome 2. Human and rat urocortin share 95% identity within the mature peptide region. Synthetic human urocortin binds with high affinity to CRF receptor types 1, 2 alpha, and 2 beta, stimulates cAMP accumulation from cells stably transfected with these receptors, and acts in vitro to release ACTH from dispersed rat anterior pituitary cells. In addition, the CRF-binding protein binds human urocortin with high affinity and can prevent urocortin-stimulated ACTH secretion in vitro. The inhibitory effect of the CRF-binding protein on human urocortin can be blocked by biologically inactive CRF fragments, such as CRF(9-33).

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Base Sequence
  • CHO Cells
  • Chromosomes, Human, Pair 2
  • Cloning, Molecular*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics*
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / pharmacology
  • Cricetinae
  • Cyclic AMP / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / genetics
  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone / metabolism
  • Sequence Homology
  • Transfection
  • Urocortins


  • Receptors, Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Urocortins
  • Corticotropin-Releasing Hormone
  • Cyclic AMP

Associated data

  • GENBANK/AF038633
  • GENBANK/U43177