Oxytocin (OT)/vasopressin (VP) signaling system is important to the regulation of metabolism, osmoregulation, social behaviours, learning, and memory, while the regulatory mechanism on ovarian development is still unclear in invertebrates. In this study, Spot/vp-like and its receptor (Spot/vpr-like) were identified in the mud crab Scylla paramamosain. Spot/vp-like transcripts were mainly expressed in the nervous tissues, midgut, gill, hepatopancreas, and ovary, while Spot/vpr-like were widespread in various tissues including the hepatopancreas, ovary, and hemocytes. In situ hybridisation revealed that Spot/vp-like mRNA was mainly detected in 6–9th clusters in the cerebral ganglion, and oocytes and follicular cells in the ovary, while Spot/vpr-like was found to localise in F-cells in the hepatopancreas and oocytes in the ovary. In vitro experiment showed that the mRNA expression level of Spvg in the hepatopancreas, Spvgr in the ovary, and 17β-estradiol (E2) content in culture medium were significantly declined with the administration of synthetic SpOT/VP-like peptide. Besides, after the injection of SpOT/VP-like peptide, it led to the significantly reduced expression of Spvg in the hepatopancreas and subduced E2 content in the haemolymph in the crabs. In brief, SpOT/VP signaling system might inhibit vitellogenesis through neuroendocrine and autocrine/paracrine modes, which may be realised by inhibiting the release of E2.
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