RFamide Neuropeptide Actions on the Molluscan Heart
FMRFamide and the related tetrapeptide FLRFamide are highly excitatory in molluscan non-cardiac smooth muscle. They are also exceptionally excitatory in the atrium and internally perfused ventricle of Busycon canaliculatum. These two peptides, usually thought of as classic molluscan cardio-acceleratory agents are in fact simply two members of a large and ever growing superfamily, the RFamide family, whose phylogenetic distribution has been so elegantly mapped by Walker . Members of this family, often with extended peptide chains (e.g. penta, hepta and decapeptides), stretch in their known distribution from the cnidaria to the chordates. The effects of some of the members of this superfamily (FMRFamide, FLRFamide, YMRFamide, TNRNFLRFamide, SDPFLRFamide, LMS) were examined. The neuropeptides were found to be very potent at very low concentrations (10–9 M) in the ventricle of both Buccinum and Busycon. Other neuropeptides (HFMRdFamide, SCPb, NLERFamide and pEGRFamide) were found to be without any effect. The Ca2+ dependency of these neuropeptides was also tested. The peptides appear to induce contraction of the ventricles by release of Ca2+ from internal pools. The neuropeptides appear to stimulate contraction in these cardiac muscles through a completely different pathway to Serotonin (the main excitatory neurotransmitter for the cardiac muscle). When the peptides were applied together with Serotonin an additive effect was observed clearly indicating the release of Ca2+ through different pathways. The nature of the RFamide receptor was also tested. It appears that the RFamide neuropeptides mobilize the 2nd messenger IP3 (Inositol trisphosphate), since the IP3 blocker Neomycin Sulphate inhibited the response of the neuropeptides.
KeywordsBuccinum undatum Busycon canaliculatum Ca2+ dependency RFamide neuropeptides serotonin
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