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Peptides. 1997;18(1):145-56.

Peptides in the locusts, Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria.

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Zoological Institute, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium.


The first peptide identified in locusts was adipokinetic hormone I (AKH-I), a neurohormone mobilizing lipids from the fat body. No other locusts peptides were isolated until 1985. From then on peptide identification started to boom at such a tremendously fast rate that even specialists in the field could hardly keep track. At this moment the total number of different insect neuropeptide sequences exceeds 100. Currently, the locusts Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria are the species from which the largest number of neuropeptides has been isolated and sequenced, namely 56. Myotropic bioassays have played a major role in the isolation and subsequent structural characterization of locust neuropeptides. They have been responsible for the discovery of locustamyotropins, locustapyrokinins, locustatachykinins, locustakinin, locusta accessory gland myotropins, locustasulfakinin, cardioactive peptide, and locustamyoinhibiting peptides. Members of the myotropin peptide families have been associated with a variety of physiological activities such as myotropic activities, pheromonotropic activities, diapause induction, stimulation of cuticular melanization, diuresis, pupariation, and allatostatic activities. Recently, we have identified in Schistocerca 10 peptides belonging to the allatostatin peptide family, which inhibit peristaltic movements of the oviduct. Some of the myotropins appear to be important neurotransmitters or modulators innervating the locust oviduct, the salivary glands, the male accessory glands, and the heart, whereas others are stored in neurohemal organs until release in the hemolymph. Some myotropic peptides have been found to be releasing factors of neurohormones from the corpora cardiaca. Several peptides isolated in locusts appear to be unique to insects or arthropods; others seem to be members of peptides families spanning across phyla: two vasopressin-like peptides, FMRFamide-related peptides, Locusta diuretic hormone (CRF-like), Locusta insulin-related peptide, locustatachykinins, locustasulfakinin (gastrin/CCK-like). In a systematic structural study of neuropeptides in Locusta, several novel peptides have been isolated from the corpora cardiaca and the pars intercerebralis. They include the neuroparsins, two 6-kDa dimeric peptides, and three proteinase inhibitors. Ovary maturating parsin is the first gonadotropin identified in insects. The isolation of a peptide from an ovary extract that inhibits ovary maturation in Schistocerca gregaria is currently underway in our lab. The proteinase inhibitors, recently found to be mainly transcribed in the fat body, are believed to play a role in defense reactions of insects. Finally, a locust ion transport peptide and a peptide stimulating salivation recently can be added to this extensive list of locust peptides.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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