Platyhelminths are the most primitive metazoan phylum to possess a true central nervous system, comprising a brain and longitudinal nerve cords connected by commissures. Additional to the presence of classical neurotransmitters, the nervous systems of all major groups of flatworms examined have widespread and abundant peptidergic components, Decades of research on the major invertebrate phyla, Mollusca and Arthropoda, have revealed the primary structures and putative functions of several families of structurally related peptides, the best studied being the FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs). Recently, the first platyhelminth FaRP was isolated from the tapeworm, Moniezia expansa, and was found to be a hexapeptide amide, GNFFRFamide. Two additional PaRPs were isolated from species of turbellarians; these were pentapeptides, RYIRFamide (Artioposthia triangulata) and GYIRFamide (Dugesia tigrina). The primary structure of a monogenean or digenean FaRP has yet to be deduced. Preliminary physiological studies have shown that both of the turbellarian FaRPs elicit dose-dependent contractions of isolated digenean and turbellarian somatic muscle fibres. Unlike the high structural diversity of FaRPs found in molluscs, arthropods and nematodes, the complement of FaRPs in individual species of platyhelminths appears to be restricted to 1 or 2 related molecules. Much remains to be learnt about platyhelminth PaRPs, particularly from peptide isolation, molecular cloning of precursor proteins, receptor localization, and physiological studies. Copyright (C) 1996 Australian Society for Parasitology.
|Number of pages||11|
|Journal||International Journal for Parasitology|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|