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Pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides in the central nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster

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The pyrokinin/pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide (PBAN) family of peptides found in insects is characterized by a 5-amino-acid C-terminal sequence, FXPRLamide. The pentapeptide is the active core required for diverse physiological functions, including stimulation of pheromone biosynthesis in female moths, stimulation of muscle contraction, induction of embryonic diapause in Bombyx mori, and stimulation of melanization in some larval moths. Recently, this family of peptides has been implicated in accelerating the formation of the puparium in a dipteran. Using bioassay and immunocytochemical techniques, we demonstrate the presence of pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides in the central nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster. Pheromonotropic activity was shown in the moths Helicoverpa zea and Helicoverpa armigera by using dissected larval nervous systems and adult heads and bodies of D. melanogaster. Polyclonal antisera against the C-terminal ending of PBAN revealed the location of cell bodies and axons in the central nervous systems of larval and adult flies. Immunoreactive material was detected in at least three groups of neurons in the subesophageal ganglion of 3rd instar larvae, pupae, and adults. The ring gland of both larvae and adults contained immunoreactivity. Adult brain-subesophageal ganglion complex possessed additional neurons. The fused ventral ganglia of both larvae and adults contained three pairs of neurons that sent their axons to a neurohemal organ connected to the abdominal nervous system. These results indicate that the D. melanogaster nervous system contains pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides and that these peptides could be released into the hemolymph.

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Choi, MY., Rafaeli, A. & Jurenka, R.A. Pyrokinin/PBAN-like peptides in the central nervous system of Drosophila melanogaster . Cell Tissue Res 306, 459–465 (2001).

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