The cloning of the avian Ang II receptor shows that it is molecularly close to the AT1-type mammalian receptor. However, pharmacological characterization in transfected cells shows that, even though the avian receptor is coupled to the phospholipase C, as is the AT1, its profile of specificity towards antagonists appears different from that of the two angiotensin II mammalian receptor types. The fowl Ang II receptor mRNA is expressed in classical adult target organs for Ang II and, interestingly, also in endothelial cells, but not in vascular smooth muscle cells. In the endothelial cells, it may mediate the peculiar vasorelaxation effect of Ang II already reported in the chicken. The recent description of the expression pattern in the chick embryo shows that the avian Ang II receptor is expressed in many different mesenchymal tissues, a feature which is the signature of the AT2mammalian receptor. Altogether, these data imply that the avian Ang II receptor is an atypical receptor that cannot be readily classified as either of the two mammalian Ang II receptor types and, therefore, reinforce the evidence for another Ang II receptor in the avian class. © 2001 Elsevier Science Inc.
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