Prolactin receptor (PRLR) is a protein associated with reproduction in mammals and with osmoregulation in fish. In this study, the complete length of Chinese giant salamander Andrias davidianus prolactin receptor (AD-prlr) was cloned. Andrias davidianus prlr expression was high in the kidney, pituitary, and ovary and low in other examined tissues. The AD-prlr levels were higher in ovary than in testis, and increased in ovaries with age from 1 to 6 years. To determine effect of exogenous androgen and aromatase inhibitor on AD-prlr expression, methyltestosterone (MT) and letrozole (LE) were injected, resulting in decreased AD-prlr in both brain and ovary, with MT repressing prlr transcription more rapidly than did LE. The molecular evolution of prlr was assessed, and found to have undergone a complex evolution process. The obranch-site test detected four positively selected sites in ancestral lineages prior to the separation of mammals and birds. Fourteen sites underwent positive selection in ancestral lineages of birds and six were positively selected in amphibians. The site model showed that 16, 7, and 30 sites underwent positive selection in extant mammals, amphibians, and birds, respectively. The positively selected sites in amphibians were located outside the transmembrane domain, with four in the extracellular and three in the intracellular domain, indicating that the transmembrane region might be conserved and essential for protein function. Our findings provide a basis for further studies of AD-prlr function and molecular evolution in Chinese giant salamander. J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B: 707–719, 2015. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
How to cite this article: Hu Q, Meng Y, Tian H, Chen S, Xiao H. 2015. Cloning, expression of, and evidence of positive selection for, the prolactin receptor gene in Chinese giant salamander (Andrias davidianus). J. Exp. Zool. (Mol. Dev. Evol.) 324B:707–719.