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Biochem Biophys Res Commun. 2002 Oct 18;298(1):31-6.

Molecular cloning and functional expression of a Drosophila corazonin receptor.

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Department of Cell Biology, Zoological Institute, University of Copenhagen, Universitetsparken 15, DK-2100, Copenhagen, Denmark.


The insect adipokinetic hormones (AKHs) constitute a large family of neuropeptides that mobilize lipids and sugar from the insect fat body during energy-requiring activities such as flight. We have previously identified the first insect AKH receptors from the fruitfly Drosophila melanogaster and the silkworm Bombyx mori (Staubli et al., PNAS 2002, 99: 3446-3451). Here, we have cloned the cDNA of a Drosophila G protein-coupled receptor that was closely related to the first Drosophila AKH receptor both with respect to amino-acid sequence and gene structure. We have subsequently expressed this orphan receptor in Chinese hamster ovary cells and identified Drosophila corazonin as the endogenous ligand for the receptor. Corazonin increases heart beat in some insects, but its function in Drosophila is unknown. These results are intriguing, because not only are the Drosophila AKH and corazonin receptors structurally and evolutionarily related, but also are their preprohormones, which suggests a co-evolution of ligands and receptors. The Drosophila corazonin receptor is expressed in embryos, larvae, pupae, and adult flies. Furthermore, a receptor that is structurally very similar to the Drosophila corazonin receptor can be found in the genomic database from the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae.

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