Submitted to: Journal of Insect Physiology
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/30/2000
Publication Date: N/A
Interpretive Summary: Because of problems with the development of resistance to conventional pesticides, there is a critical need for new concepts and alternative approaches in controlling such pests. The basic premise of this research is that peptides (short chains of amino acids) serve as potent internal messengers in insects to regulate vital functions. Peptides themselves are unsuitable for control measures due to their instability to enzymes in the circulatory and digestive systems, and an inability to penetrate the outer surface of the insect. New, selective control measures may be developed by designing metabolically stable mimics of these neuropeptides that actively inhibit or over-stimulate functions regulated by them, resulting in disruption of the internal environment of the insect. In this paper, we review cockroach neuropeptides involved in the regulation of muscles important to the digestive, locomotory and reproductive system. The paper covers other critical functions regulated by these neuropeptides and mimics that have been developed for them which have the potential to disrupt critical neuropeptide- regulated life processes. The work reviewed here leads us one step closer to the development of practical neuropeptide-like agents that will be effective in controlling certain pests (such as cockroaches) in an environmentally friendly fashion.
Technical Abstract: In this brief overview we give the historical background on the discovery of myostimulatory neuropeptides in cockroaches. Related peptides were later found in other insect groups as well. We summarize the current knowledge on primary structures, localization, physiological and pharmacological effects of the different cockroaches neuropeptides, including kinins, sulfakinins, pyrokinins, tachykinin-related peptides, periviscerokinins, corazonin, and proctolin. In addition, we briefly comment on the development of mimetic pseudopeptide analogs in the context of their possible use in insect pest management.