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Evolution of Marsupials Traced by Their Neurohypophyseal Hormones: Microidentification of Mesotocin and Arginine Vasopressin in Two Australian Families, Dasyuridae and Phascolarctidae


J. CHAUVET, Y. ROUILLE, M. T. CHAUVET, AND R. ACHER


Laboratory of Biological Chemistry, University of Paris VI, 96, Boulevard Raspail, 75006 Paris, France


ABSTRACT
Neurohypophyseal hormones of two species belonging to the family Dasyuridae, namely Dasyurus viverrinus (Eastern native cat) and Dasyuroides byrnei (Kowari), and of the single living member of the family Phascolarctidae, Phascolarctos cinereus (Koala) have been isolated and characterized by their retention times in high-pressure reverse-phase partition chromatography and either amino acid composition or amino acid sequence through a gas-phase microsequencer. Mesotocin and arginine vasopressin have been identified in the three species. The same hormones have previously been found in a species belonging to the family Phalangeridae, Trichosurus vulpecula (brush-tailed possum), whereas in five species of Macropodidae, mesotocin, lysipressin, and phenypressin have been characterized. Because the four Australian marsupial families examined up to now possess mesotocin and at least a vasopressin-like peptide, it is assumed that the primitive marsupial settler in Australia was endowed with mesotocin and arginine vasopressin.