The pars intercerebralis-corpora cardiaca complex in insects is the functional equivalent of the vertebrate brain-pituitary axis. During the past few decades more than 40 neuropeptides have been isolated from the locust brain-corpus cardiacum complex. Tedious and time-consuming successive purification rounds of large tissue extracts were necessary to achieve the purification and sequencing of most of these signal molecules. Nowadays, the combination of nanoscale liquid chromatography and the very sensitive tandem mass spectrometry allows us to identify and sequence peptides in very low concentration directly from tissue extracts. In this manuscript, we review previous data on the peptidome analysis of the locust corpora cardiaca, with emphasis on AKH processing. In addition, we report the peptide profiling of a single corpus cardiacum from Locusta migratoria. 23 peptides were isolated and sequenced in a single nano-LC-MS/MS experiment, demonstrating the sensitivity and effectiveness of mass spectrometry in peptide research. (C) 2003 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.