Journal of Insect Physiology vol:50 issue:2-3 pages:233-239
Peptides from the pyrokinin/PBAN family and some structurally related compounds identified in various arthropods were tested for acceleration of puparial contraction in flesh fly larvae. Modifications of behavioural patterns of pupariation were further studied for the active compounds using a behavioural analysis based on the recording of changes in tension of the cuticle. Nine peptides belonging to the pyrokinin/PBAN family (Lem-PK, Pea-PK-5, Lom-PK II, Hez-PBAN, Bom-DH-I), identified in five different insect species, two pyrokinin peptides derived from the genome of Drosophila melanogaster (capa-3, and hugin), and two pyrokinins identified from the white shrimp Penaeus vannamei were very active in the pupariation assay, with threshold doses within the range of 0.1-5.0 pmol larva(-1). High activity was also detected for a related peptide ETH1 from Drosophila. All of these peptides share a C-terminal PRLamide, which is essential and sufficient for the activity. Interestingly, two other structurally related peptides from Drosophila-ETH2 and capa-1-which feature conservative changes (Ile and Val, respectively) at the C-terminal Leu position, were inactive within a physiological range of concentrations. It is clear that the receptor mediating the acceleration of puparial contraction behaviour is sensitive to the introduction of greater steric bulk at the C-terminal Leu position. The peptides that accelerated pupariation showed very similar patterns of muscular and cuticular activity. (C) 2003 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.