Neuropeptide Gene Families in Caenorhabditis elegans

Part of the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series (volume 692)


Neuropeptides are short sequences of amino acids that function in all multicellular organisms to communicate information between cells. The first sequence of a neuropeptide was reported in 19701 and the number of identified neuropeptides remained relatively small until the 1990s when the DNA sequence of multiple genomes revealed treasure troves of information. By blasting away at the genome, gene families, the sizes of which were previously unknown, could now be determined. This information has led to an exponential increase in the number of putative neuropeptides and their respective gene families.

The molecular biology age greatly benefited the neuropeptide field in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Its genome was among the first to be sequenced2 and this allowed us the opportunity to screen the genome for neuropeptide genes. Initially, the screening was slow, as the Genefinder and BLAST programs had difficulty identifying small genes and peptides. However, as the bioinformatics programs improved, the extent of the neuropeptide gene families in C. elegans gradually emerged.


Caenorhabditis Elegans Nematode Caenorhabditis Elegans Ventral Cord Pharyngeal Neuron Head Neuron 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Landes Bioscience and Springer Science+Business Media 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chris Li-Department of BiologyCity College of the City University of New YorkNew York
  2. 2.Department of BiologyBrandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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