The cyclic peptide urotensin II (UII) was originally isolated from the urophysis of teleost fish on the basis of its ability to contract intestinal smooth muscle. The UII peptide has subsequently been isolated from frog brain and, later on, the pre-proUII cDNA has been characterized in mammals, including humans. A UII paralog called urotensin II-related peptide (URP) has been identified in the rat brain. The UII and URP genes originate from the same ancestral gene as the somatostatin and cortistatin genes. In the central nervous system (CNS) of tetrapods, UII is expressed primarily in motoneurons of the brainstem and spinal cord. The biological actions of UII and URP are mediated through a G protein-coupled receptor, termed UT, that exhibits high sequence similarity with the somatostatin receptors. The UT gene is widely expressed in the CNS and in peripheral organs. Consistent with the broad distribution of UT, UII and URP exert a large array of behavioral effects and regulate endocrine, cardiovascular, renal, and immune functions.
- behavioral effects
- cardiovascular system
- urotensin II
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- History and Philosophy of Science