General and Comparative Endocrinology vol:166 issue:2 pages:222-233
Corazonin (Crz) is an 11 amino acid C-terminally amidated neuropeptide that has been identified in most arthropods examined with the notable exception of beetles and an aphid. The Crz receptor shares sequence similarity to the GnRH-AKH receptor family thus suggesting an ancestral function related to the control of reproduction and metabolism. In 1989, Crz was purified and identified as a potent cardioaccelerating agent in cockroaches (hence the Crz name based on "corazon", the Spanish word for "heart"). Since the initial assignment as a cardio-acceleratory peptide, additional functions have been discovered, ranging from pigment migration in the integument of crustaceans and in the eye of locusts, melanization of the locust cuticle, ecdysis initiation and in various aspects of gregarization in locusts. The high degree of structural conservation of Crz, its well-conserved (immuno)-localization, mainly in specific neurosecretory cells in the pars lateralis, and its many functions, suggest that Crz is vital. Yet, Crz-deficient insects develop normally. Upon reexamining all known effects of Crz, a hypothesis was developed that the evolutionary ancient function of Crz may have been "to prepare animals for coping with the environmental stressors of the day". This function would then complement the role of Pigment Dispersing Factor (PDF), the prime hormonal effector of the clock, which is thought "to set a coping mechanism for the night".