By using a reverse transcription–PCR approach we have cloned a peptide precursor from mouse brain which contains the sequence of orphanin FQ/nociceptin. The mouse sequence of orphanin FQ/nociceptin is identical at the amino acid level with that isolated from rat and porcine brain. Northern analysis of the mRNA encoding the precursor reveals a single band of approx. 1 kb, with the highest levels in the brain and much lower levels in kidney and spleen. Southern analysis is consistent with a single gene. The precursor peptide from mouse contains two other putative peptides. Upstream from the orphanin FQ/nociceptin is a 41-amino-acid peptide which is almost identical, except for a six-amino-acid insertion, with the corresponding 35-amino-acid peptide predicted from the rat sequence. Interestingly, the mouse contains a triple AEPGAD repeat within this peptide that is not seen in the rat sequence. Downstream from the orphanin FQ/nociceptin sequence is another 17-amino-acid peptide which is identical with that found in the rat.
The nucleotide sequence shown in Figure 1 is deposited with the GenBank Nucleotide Sequence Database under the accession no. U44027.