Neuropeptides, Peptide Hormones, and Their Receptors of a Tunicate, Ciona intestinalis

  • Honoo SatakeEmail author
  • Shin Matsubara
  • Akira Shiraishi
  • Tatsuya Yamamoto
  • Tomohiro Osugi
  • Tsubasa Sakai
  • Tsuyoshi Kawada
Part of the Results and Problems in Cell Differentiation book series (RESULTS, volume 68)


The critical phylogenetic position of the ascidian, Ciona intestinalis, as the closest relative of vertebrates, suggested its potential applicability as a model organism in a wide variety of biological events including the nervous, neuroendocrine, and endocrine regulation. To date, approximately 40 neuropeptides and/or peptide hormones and several cognate receptors have been identified. These peptides are categorized into two types: (1) orthologs of vertebrate peptides, such as cholecystokinin, GnRH, tachykinin, vasopressin, and calcitonin, and (2) novel family peptides such as LF peptides and YFL/V peptides. Ciona GnRH receptors (Ci-GnRHR) were found to be multiplicated in the Ciona-specific lineages and to form unique heterodimers between Ci-GnRHR1 and R4 and between Ci-GnRHR2 and R4, leading to fine-tuning of the generation of second messengers. Furthermore, Ciona tachykinin was shown to regulate a novel protease-associated follicle growth pathway. These findings will pave the way for the exploration of both conserved and diversified endocrine, neuroendocrine, and nervous systems in the evolutionary lineage of invertebrate deuterostomes and/or chordates. In this chapter, we provide an overview of primary sequences, functions, and evolutionary aspects of neuropeptides, peptide hormones, and their receptors in C. intestinalis.









CT gene-related peptide


Ciona intestinalis


CT receptor-stimulating peptide




Gonadotropin-releasing hormone






TK-related peptide





All ascidians were provided by Kyoto University through the National Bio-Resource Project of the MEXT, Japan. This study was funded by the Japan Society for the Promotion of Sciences, grant 16K07430 to H.S.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Honoo Satake
    • 1
    Email author
  • Shin Matsubara
    • 1
  • Akira Shiraishi
    • 1
  • Tatsuya Yamamoto
    • 1
  • Tomohiro Osugi
    • 1
  • Tsubasa Sakai
    • 1
  • Tsuyoshi Kawada
    • 1
  1. 1.Bioorganic Research InstituteSuntory Foundation for Life SciencesKyotoJapan

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