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Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14(6), 11208-11223; doi:10.3390/ijms140611208

Melatonin Receptor Genes in Vertebrates

College of Animal Science and Technology, Sichuan Agricultural University, Ya'an 625014, China
Department of Anthropology and California National Primate Research Center, University of California, Davis, CA 95616, USA
Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, University of Goettingen, Berliner Str. 28, Goettingen D-37073, Germany
These authors contributed equally to this work.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 27 February 2013 / Revised: 28 April 2013 / Accepted: 20 May 2013 / Published: 27 May 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Advances in the Research of Melatonin)
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Melatonin receptors are members of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) family. Three genes for melatonin receptors have been cloned. The MT1 (or Mel1a or MTNR1A) and MT2 (or Mel1b or MTNR1B) receptor subtypes are present in humans and other mammals, while an additional melatonin receptor subtype, Mel1c (or MTNR1C), has been identified in fish, amphibians and birds. Another melatonin related orphan receptor, GPR50, which does not bind melatonin, is found exclusively in mammals. The hormone melatonin is secreted primarily by the pineal gland, with highest levels occurring during the dark period of a circadian cycle. This hormone acts systemically in numerous organs. In the brain, it is involved in the regulation of various neural and endocrine processes, and it readjusts the circadian pacemaker, the suprachiasmatic nucleus. This article reviews recent studies of gene organization, expression, evolution and mutations of melatonin receptor genes of vertebrates. Gene polymorphisms reveal that numerous mutations are associated with diseases and disorders. The phylogenetic analysis of receptor genes indicates that GPR50 is an outgroup to all other melatonin receptor sequences. GPR50 may have separated from a melatonin receptor ancestor before the split between MTNR1C and the MTNR1A/B ancestor.
Keywords: melatonin receptor; evolution; vertebrates melatonin receptor; evolution; vertebrates
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Li, D.Y.; Smith, D.G.; Hardeland, R.; Yang, M.Y.; Xu, H.L.; Zhang, L.; Yin, H.D.; Zhu, Q. Melatonin Receptor Genes in Vertebrates. Int. J. Mol. Sci. 2013, 14, 11208-11223.

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