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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Zdarek, J
item Nachman, Ronald - Ron
item Hayes, T

Submitted to: Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/10/1996
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary: Neuropeptides are hormone-like substances that are composed of short chains of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins). These chemicals regulate a variety of life processes (digestion, water balance, etc.) in a large number of higher organisms, including insects. We have demonstrated that neuropeptides of the pyrokinin class can trigger the onset of a key developmental process known as pupariation (transition from a larva to a pupa) in a livestock pest, the fleshfly. The study also identifies the specific areas in the large nerve network that controls different aspects of the pupariation response that leads to transformation of the insect from one stage of development to the next. This finding will allow us to design mimics of this class of peptides that are resistant to the processes insects normally use to inactivate neuropeptides, and could be an important step in our attempts to exploit insect neuropeptides to develop a new class of insect control chemicals that are effective and environmentally safe. These mimics should be capable of disrupting this developmental process critical to the survival of these livestock pests. 

Technical Abstract: Screening for puparium formation accelerating activity of neuropeptides belonging to 8 different insect peptide families revealed strong activity only in leucopyrokinin (LPK) analogs, members of the pyrokinin/PBAN family that all share the common C-terminal sequence, FXPRLamide (X = G, S, T or V). Both pupariation behavior and cuticular tanning can be accelerated by a pentapeptide fragment composed of only the FTPRLamide sequence. Ligation experiments have demonstrated that the effect of the LPK analogs on pupariation behavior is mediated through the CNS, while the action on cuticular tanning is of peripheral nature.

Last Modified: 05/25/2017
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