The dog is an important model organism and it is considered to be closer to humans than rodents regarding metabolism and responses to drugs. The close relationship between humans and dogs over many centuries has lead to the diversity of the canine species, important genetic discoveries and an appreciation of the effects of old age in another species. The superfamily of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) is one of the largest gene families in most mammals and the most exploited in terms of drug discovery. An accurate comparison of the GPCR repertoires in dog and human is valuable for the prediction of functional similarities and differences between the species.
We searched the dog genome for non-olfactory GPCRs and obtained 353 full-length GPCR gene sequences, 18 incomplete sequences and 13 pseudogenes. We established relationships between human, dog, rat and mouse GPCRs resolving orthologous pairs and species-specific duplicates. We found that 12 dog GPCR genes are missing in humans while 24 human GPCR genes are not part of the dog GPCR repertoire. There is a higher number of orthologous pairs between dog and human that are conserved as compared with either mouse or rat. In almost all cases the differences observed between the dog and human genomes coincide with other variations in the rodent species. Several GPCR gene expansions characteristic for rodents are not found in dog.
The repertoire of dog non-olfactory GPCRs is more similar to the repertoire in humans as compared with the one in rodents. The comparison of the dog, human and rodent repertoires revealed several examples of species-specific gene duplications and deletions. This information is useful in the selection of model organisms for pharmacological experiments.