The circadian endocrine hormone melatonin plays a significant role in many physiological processes such as modulating sleep/wake cycle and oxidative stress. Melatonin is synthesised and secreted during the night by the pineal gland and released into the circulatory system. It binds to numerous membrane, cytosolic and nuclear receptors in the brain and peripheral organs. Three G-protein linked membrane receptors (Mel-1A, Mel-1B and Mel-1C) have been identified in numerous species. Considering the importance of this hormone and its receptors, this study looks at the location and rhythmicity of three avian melatonin receptors Mel-1A, Mel-1B and Mel-1C using reserve transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) mRNA analysis techniques. This study shows successful partial cloning of the three receptors and gene expression analysis revealed significant rhythms of the Mel-1A receptor in the cerebellum, diencephalon, tectum opticum, telencephalon, and retina. Significant rhythms where found in the diencephalon, pineal gland, retina, tectum opticum and cerebellum of the Mel-1B receptor whereas Mel-1C appeared not to be rhythmically expressed in brain tissues studied. Mel-1A, Mel-1B and Mel-1C receptor mRNA where also present in peripheral tissues showing tissue-specific expression patterns.
- Pineal gland circadian rhythm
- Melatonin receptors