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FASEB J. 2012 Feb;26(2):947-54. doi: 10.1096/fj.11-192831. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

Peptides derived from the prohormone proNPQ/spexin are potent central modulators of cardiovascular and renal function and nociception.

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SRI International, Menlo Park, California, USA.


Computational methods have led two groups to predict the endogenous presence of a highly conserved, amidated, 14-aa neuropeptide called either spexin or NPQ. NPQ/spexin is part of a larger prohormone that contains 3 sets of RR residues, suggesting that it could yield more than one bioactive peptide; however, no in vivo activity has been demonstrated for any peptide processed from this precursor. Here we demonstrate biological activity for two peptides present within proNPQ/spexin. NPQ/spexin (NWTPQAMLYLKGAQ-NH(2)) and NPQ 53-70 (FISDQSRRKDLSDRPLPE) have differing renal and cardiovascular effects when administered intracerebroventricularly or intravenously into rats. Intracerebroventricular injection of NPQ/spexin produced a 13 ± 2 mmHg increase in mean arterial pressure, a 38 ± 8 bpm decrease in heart rate, and a profound decrease in urine flow rate. Intracerebroventricular administration of NPQ 53-70 produced a 26 ± 9 bpm decrease in heart rate with no change in mean arterial pressure, and a marked increase in urine flow rate. Intraventricular NPQ/spexin and NPQ 53-70 also produced antinociceptive activity in the warm water tail withdrawal assay in mice (ED(50)<30 and 10 nmol for NPQ/spexin and NPQ 53-70, respectively). We conclude that newly identified peptides derived from the NPQ/spexin precursor contribute to CNS-mediated control of arterial blood pressure and salt and water balance and modulate nociceptive responses.

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