The neuropeptide S receptor (NPSR) is a recently deorphanized member of the G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) superfamily and is activated by the neuropeptide S (NPS). NPSR and NPS are widely expressed in central nervous system and are known to have crucial roles in asthma pathogenesis, locomotor activity, wakefulness, anxiety and food intake. The NPS-NPSR system was previously thought to have first evolved in the tetrapods. Here we examine the origin and the molecular evolution of the NPSR using in-silico comparative analyses and document the molecular basis of divergence of the NPSR from its closest vertebrate paralogs. In this study, NPSR-like sequences have been identified in a hemichordate and a cephalochordate, suggesting an earlier emergence of a NPSR-like sequence in the metazoan lineage. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that the NPSR is most closely related to the invertebrate cardioacceleratory peptide receptor (CCAPR) and the group of vasopressin-like receptors. Gene structure features were congruent with the phylogenetic clustering and supported the orthology of NPSR to the invertebrate NPSR-like and CCAPR. A site-specific analysis between the vertebrate NPSR and the well studied paralogous vasopressin-like receptor subtypes revealed several putative amino acid sites that may account for the observed functional divergence between them. The data can facilitate experimental studies aiming at deciphering the common features as well as those related to ligand binding and signal transduction processes specific to the NPSR. © 2012 Pitti, Manoj.