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The neuropeptide F (NPF) encoding gene from the cestode, Moniezia expansa

  • G. R. MAIR (a1), D. W. HALTON (a1), C. SHAW (a1) and A. G. MAULE (a1)

Abstract

Neuropeptide F (NPF) is an abundantly expressed neuropeptide in platyhelminth nervous systems, and exhibits a moderate, myogenic effect on muscle preparations of parasitic flatworms. NPF displays structural similarities to peptides from molluscs and vertebrate members of the neuropeptide Y (NPY)-superfamily of peptides. NPY is one of the most abundant and highly conserved neuropeptides within vertebrates and similarities between the gene organization of NPY, pancreatic polypeptide (PP) and peptide tyrosine tyrosine (PYY), suggest a common evolutionary origin of this peptide family. Dual localization analyses coupled with confocal scanning laser microscopy revealed a close spatial relationship between NPF-containing nerves and muscle fibres in M. expansa. Molecular cloning techniques identified the M. expansa NPF (mxNPF) precursor and characterized the isolated transcript which encodes an open reading frame of 57 amino acids. The transcript possesses a 17 amino acid signal peptide and the mature NPF sequence (39 amino acids) followed by a carboxyterminal glycyl extension. Sequence analysis of genomic DNA identified a product which possessed a 54 base pair intron with consensus sequences for 5′ and 3′ splice sites. The M. expansa npf gene possesses a phase 2 intron within the penultimate arginyl residue, a characteristic feature of NPY superfamily peptide-genes. The intron–exon organization of the npf gene, coupled with the abundant expression of NPF within the nervous systems of flatworms, suggests an early evolutionary origin for this peptide transmitter family within the nervous systems of basal bilaterian metazoans.

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Corresponding author

Corresponding author. Tel: +1232 272059. Fax: +1232 236505. E-mail: a.maule@qub.ac.uk

Keywords

The neuropeptide F (NPF) encoding gene from the cestode, Moniezia expansa

  • G. R. MAIR (a1), D. W. HALTON (a1), C. SHAW (a1) and A. G. MAULE (a1)

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