A Novel Reproductive Peptide, Phoenixin


Correspondence to: Gina L. C. Yosten, Department of Pharmacological and Physiological Science, Saint Louis University School of Medicine, 1402 S. Grand Boulevard, St Louis, MO 63104, USA (e-mails: glcyosten@yahoo.com; gyosten@slu.edu).


Normal anterior pituitary function is essential for fertility. Release from the gland of the reproductive hormones luteinising hormone and follicle-stimulating hormone is regulated primarily by hypothalamically-derived gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH), although other releasing factors (RF) have been postulated to exist. Using a bioinformatic approach, we have identified a novel peptide, phoenixin, that regulates pituitary gonadotrophin secretion by modulating the expression of the GnRH receptor, an action with physiologically relevant consequences. Compromise of phoenixin in vivo using small interfering RNA resulted in the delayed appearance of oestrus and a reduction in GnRH receptor expression in the pituitary. Phoenixin may represent a new class of hypothalamically-derived pituitary priming factors that sensitise the pituitary to the action of other RFs, rather than directly stimulating the fusion of secretary vesicles to pituitary membranes.