General and Comparative Endocrinology vol:153 issue:1-3 pages:64-71
Different neuroparsin variants were initially identified as anti-gonadotropic peptides from the pars intercerebralis-corpora cardiaca complex of the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria, and further studies revealed the pleiotropic activities of these peptides. Subsequently, additional neuroparsin-like peptides were discovered from other arthropod species. Studies in mosquitoes and locusts suggest that members of this conserved peptide family are involved in the regulation of insect reproduction and can even serve as molecular markers of the fascinating biological process of locust phase transition. Sequence analysis and multiple alignments revealed pronounced sequence similarities between arthropod neuroparsins and the N-terminal, growth factor binding region of vertebrate and mollusc insulin-like growth factor binding proteins (IGFBP). This observation led to the hypothesis that neuroparsins might interact with endogenous insulin-related peptides. The present paper gives an overview of several neuroparsin family members that have hitherto been described in insects, as well as of a number of newly identified neuroparsin precursors from other species.