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Front Neuroendocrinol. 2011 Oct;32(4):377-86. doi: 10.1016/j.yfrne.2011.02.005. Epub 2011 Feb 18.

Direct cellular peptidomics of hypothalamic neurons.

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Dept. of Cell & Developmental Biology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL 61801, USA.


The chemical complexity of cell-to-cell communication has emerged as a fundamental challenge to understanding brain systems. This is certainly true for the hypothalamus, where neuropeptide signals are heterogeneous, localized and dynamic. Thus far, most hypothalamic peptidomic studies have centered on the entire structure; however, recent advances in collection strategies and analytical technologies have enabled direct, high-resolution peptidomic profiles focused on two regions of interest, the suprachiasmatic and supraoptic nuclei, including their sub-regions and individual cells. Suites of peptides now can be identified and probed for function. High spatial and analytical sensitivities reveal that discrete hypothalamic nuclei have distinct peptidomic signatures. Peptidomic discovery not only reveals unanticipated complexity, but also peptides previously unknown that act as key circuit components. Analysis of tissue releasates identifies peptides secreted into the extracellular environment and available for transmitting intercellular signals. Direct sampling techniques define peptide-releasate profiles in spatial, temporal and event-dependent patterns. These approaches are providing remarkable new insights into the complexity of neuropeptidergic cell-to-cell signaling central to neuroendocrine physiology.

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