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International Journal of Endocrinology
Volume 2017 (2017), Article ID 9538685, 13 pages
Research Article

Activities of Amphioxus GH-Like Protein in Osmoregulation: Insight into Origin of Vertebrate GH Family

1Laboratory for Evolution & Development, Institute of Evolution & Marine Biodiversity and Department of Marine Biology, Ocean University of China, Qingdao 266003, China
2Institute for Translational Medicine, Qingdao University, Qingdao 266021, China
3College of Life Science and Technology, Hong He University, Mengzi, Yunnan 661100, China

Correspondence should be addressed to Yu Zhang and Shicui Zhang

Received 4 October 2016; Accepted 14 November 2016; Published 19 March 2017

Academic Editor: Alexander Schreiber

Copyright © 2017 Mengyang Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


GH is known to play an important role in both growth promotion and osmoregulation in vertebrates. We have shown that amphioxus possesses a single GH-like hormone (GHl) gene encoding a functional protein capable of promoting growth. However, if GHl can mediate osmoregulation remains open. Here, we demonstrated clearly that GHl increased not only the survival rate of amphioxus but also the muscle moisture under high salinity. Moreover, GHl induced the expression of both the ion transporter Na+-K+-ATPase (NKA) and Na+-K+-2Cl cotransporter (NKCC) in the gill as well as the mediator of GH action IGFl in the hepatic caecum, indicating that GHl fulfills this osmoregulatory activity through the same mechanisms of vertebrate GH. These results together suggest that the osmoregulatory activities of GH had emerged in the basal chordate amphioxus. We also proposed a new model depicting the origin of pituitary hormone family in vertebrates.