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item Nachman, Ronald

Submitted to: Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides
Publication Type: Book / Chapter
Publication Acceptance Date: 8/23/2005
Publication Date: 8/29/2006
Citation: Schoofs, L., Nachman, R.J. 2006. Sulfakinins. In: Kastin, A., editor. Handbook of Biologically Active Peptides. New York, NY: Elsevier. p. 183-189.

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 insect pests. The basic premise of this research is that neuropeptides (short chains of amino acids) serve as potent messengers in insects to regulate vital functions. 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. This manuscript is a book chapter that reviews current knowledge about the sulfakinin neuropeptide family in arthropods. These neuropeptides regulate critical processes associated with development and digestion. A deeper understanding of the specific structures of neuropeptides, where they are stored and released, and how these neuropeptides regulate critical processes in insects and other pest arthropods will aid in the design of strategies to disrupt feeding and survival. The work brings us one step closer to the development of practical neuropeptide-like substances that will be effective in controlling pest insects in an environmentally friendly fashion.

Technical Abstract: Sulfakinins constitute a family of arthropod neuropeptides that typically contain the C-terminal hexapeptide Y(SO3H)GHMRFamide, the active core sequence. They display structural and functional similarities to the vertebrate gastrin-cholecystokinin family of peptides. Sulfakinins are synthesized by a limited number of neurosecretory cells and exhibit several effects, including myotropic activities, inhibition of food intake and stimulation of digestive enzyme release. The sulfate group is a requirement for biological activity. The gastrin/CCK and sulfakinin signaling system is a good example of the co-evolution of neuropeptides and their receptors.