Neuropeptide-like protein diversity in phylum Nematoda

Paul McVeigh, S. Alexander-Bowman, Emma Veal, Angela Mousley, Nicola Marks, Aaron Maule

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Citations (Scopus)


This study reports the identification of nematode neuropeptide-like protein (nlp) sequelogs from the GenBank expressed sequence tag (EST) database, using BLAST (Basic Local Alignment Search Tool) search methodology. Search strings derived from peptides encoded by the 45 known Caenorhabatitis elegans nlp genes were used to identify more than 1000 ESTs encoding a total of 26 multi-species nlp sequelogs. The remaining 18 nlps (nlp-4, -16, -24 through -36, -39, -41 and -45) were identified only in C elegans, while the sole EST representative of nlp-23 was from Caenorhabditis remanei. Several ESTs encoding putative antibacterial peptides similar to those encoded by the C elegans genes nlp-24-33 were observed in several parasite species. A novel gene (nlp-46) was identified, encoding a single, amidated dodecapeptide (NIA[I/T]GR[G/A]DG[F/L]RPG) in eight species. Secretory signal peptides were identified in at least one species representing each nlp sequelog, confirming that all 46 nematode nlp genes encode secretory peptides. A random sub-set of C elegans NLPs was tested physiologically in Ascaris suum ovijector and body wall muscle bioassays. None of the peptides tested were able to modulate ovijector activity, while only three displayed measurable myoactivity on somatic body wall muscle. AFAAGWNRamide (from nlp-23) and AVNPFLDSIamide (nlp-3) both produced a relaxation of body wall muscle, while AIPFNGGMYamide (nlp-10) induced a transient contraction. Numerical analyses of nip-encoding ESTs demonstrate that nlp-3, -13, -14, -15 and -18 are amongst the most highly represented transcripts in the dataset. Using available bioinformatics resources, this study delineates the nlp complement of phylum Nematoda, providing a rich source of neuropeptide ligands for deorphanisation of nematode neuropeptide receptors. (C) 2008 Australian Society for Parasitology Inc. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1493-1503
Number of pages11
JournalInternational Journal for Parasitology
Issue number13
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2008

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Infectious Diseases


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