Corticotropin-releasing factor (IPR000187)

Short name: CRF

Overlapping homologous superfamilies


Domain relationships



This entry represents a domain found in the corticotropin-releasing factor family members.

Corticotropin-releasing factor (CRF), urotensin-I, urocortin and sauvagine form a family of related neuropeptides in vertebrates. The family can be grouped into 2 separate paralogous lineages, with urotensin-I, urocortin and sauvagine in one group and CRF forming the other group. Urocortin and sauvagine appear to represent orthologues of fish urotensin-I in mammals and amphibians, respectively. The peptides have a variety of physiological effects on stress and anxiety, vasoregulation, thermoregulation, growth and metabolism, metamorphosis and reproduction in various species, and are all released as preprohormones [PMID: 10375459].

CRF [PMID: 2200028] is a hormone found mainly in the paraventricular nucleus of the mammalian hypothalamus that regulates the release of corticotropin (ACTH) from the pituitary gland. From here, CRF is transported to the anterior pituitary, stimulating adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH) release via CRF type 1 receptors, thereby activating the hypothalamo-pituitary-adrenocortical axis (HPA) and thus glucocorticoid release.

CRF is evolutionary related to a number of other active peptides. Urocortin acts in vitro to stimulate the secretion of adrenocorticotropic hormone. Urotensin is found in the teleost caudal neurosecretory system and may play a role in osmoregulation and as a corticotropin-releasing factor. Urotensin-I is released from the urophysis of fish, and produces ACTH and subsequent cortisol release in vivo. The nonhormonal portion of the prohormone is thought to be the urotensin binding protein (urophysin). Sauvagine (P01144), isolated from frog skin, has a potent hypotensive and diuretic effect.

GO terms

Biological Process

No terms assigned in this category.

Molecular Function

GO:0005179 hormone activity

Cellular Component

GO:0005576 extracellular region

Contributing signatures

Signatures from InterPro member databases are used to construct an entry.