Several cannabinoid receptors have been detected in many organisms. The best known are CB1, mainly expressed in the central nervous system and CB2 which is almost exclusively expressed in the periphery. Here we report the molecular characterization of two duplicate CB2-like cannabinoid receptors from zebrafish (Danio rerio) (zebrafish Cb2a and zebrafish Cb2b). The amino acid sequences of these receptors present 56% identity with Takifugu rubripes CB2 sequence and 39% with human CB2 sequence and conserve some specific key residues for cannabinoid receptor function. Both duplicate receptors are expressed in peripheral tissues (gills, heart, intestine and muscle), immune tissue (spleen) and also in the central nervous system. Using in situ hybridization techniques zebrafish Cb2 mRNA expression was observed for the first time in the adenohypophysial cells of the rostral pars distalis and proximal pars distalis of the pituitary gland. Given the importance of the existence of duplication of genes in teleosts, the combined analysis of these two new cannabinoid receptors opens a new exciting door to investigate and understand cannabinoid function throughout evolution.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
We would like to thank G. H. Jenkins for revising the English version of this manuscript. This research was supported by Ministerio de Educación y Ciencia (SAF2004-05144) and Junta de Castilla y León (SA080A05).
- Danio rerio
- In situ hybridization