Insect biochemistry and molecular biology vol:23 issue:8 pages:859-881
The search for myotropic peptide molecules in the brain, corpora cardiaca, corpora allata suboesophageal ganglion complex of Locusta migratoria using a heterologous bioassay (the isolated hindgut of the cockroach, Leucophaea maderae) has been very rewarding. It has lead to the discovery of 21 novel biologically active neuropeptides. Six of the identified Locusta peptides show sequence homologies to vertebrate neuropeptides, such as gastrin/cholecystokinin and tachykinins. Some peptides, especially the ones belonging to the FXPRL amide family display pleiotropic effects. Many more myotropic peptides remain to be isolated and sequenced. Locusta migratoria has G-protein coupled receptors, which show homology to known mammalian receptors for amine and peptide neurotransmitters and/or hormones. Myotropic peptides are a diverse and widely distributed group of regulatory molecules in the animal kingdom. They are found in neuroendocrine systems of all animal groups investigated and can be recognized as important neurotransmitters and neuromodulators in the animal nervous system. Insects seem to make use of a large variety of peptides as neurotransmitters/neuromodulators in the central nervous system, in addition to the aminergic neurotransmitters. Furthermore quite a few of the myotropic peptides seem to have a function in peripheral neuromuscular synapses. The era in which insects were considered to be ''lower animals'' with a simple neuroendocrine system is definitely over. Neural tissues of insects contain a large number of biologically active peptides and these peptides may provide the specificity and complexity of intercellular communications in the nervous system.