A new peptidic ligand and its receptor regulating adrenal function in rats.
We searched for peptidic ligands for orphan G protein-coupled receptors utilizing a human genome data base and identified a new gene encoding a preproprotein that could generate a peptide. This peptide consisted of 43 amino acid residues starting from N-terminal pyroglutamic acid and ending at C-terminal arginine-phenylalanine-amide. We therefore named it QRFP after pyroglutamylated arginine-phenylalanine-amide peptide. We subsequently searched for its receptor and found that Chinese hamster ovary cells expressing an orphan G protein-coupled receptor, AQ27, specifically responded to QRFP. We analyzed tissue distributions of QRFP and its receptor mRNAs in rats utilizing quantitative reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction and in situ hybridization. QRFP mRNA was highly expressed in the hypothalamus, whereas its receptor mRNA was highly expressed in the adrenal gland. The intravenous administration of QRFP caused the release of aldosterone, suggesting that QRFP and its receptor have a regulatory function in the rat adrenal gland.