An arthropod-specific peptidergic system, the neuropeptide designated here as natalisin and its receptor, was identified and investigated in three holometabolous insect species: Drosophila melanogaster, Tribolium castaneum, and Bombyx mori. In all three species, natalisin expression was observed in 3-4 pairs of the brain neurons: the anterior dorso-lateral interneurons, inferior contralateral interneurons, and small pars intercerebralis neurons. In B. mori, natalisin also was expressed in two additional pairs of contralateral interneurons in the subesophageal ganglion. Natalisin-RNAi and the activation or silencing of the neural activities in the natalisin-specific cells in D. melanogaster induced significant defects in the mating behaviors of both males and females. Knockdown of natalisin expression in T. castaneum resulted in significant reduction in the fecundity. The similarity of the natalisin C-terminal motifs to those of vertebrate tachykinins and of tachykinin-related peptides in arthropods led us to identify the natalisin receptor. A G protein-coupled receptor, previously known as tachykinin receptor 86C (also known as the neurokinin K receptor of D. melanogaster), now has been recognized as a bona fide natalisin receptor. Taken together, the taxonomic distribution pattern of the natalisin gene and the phylogeny of the receptor suggest that natalisin is an ancestral sibling of tachykinin that evolved only in the arthropod lineage.
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|Publication status||Published - 2013 Sep 10|
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