Molecular and cellular endocrinology

Functional characterization and expression analysis of the myoinhibiting peptide receptor in the Chagas disease vector, Rhodnius prolixus.

PMID 25218475


Myoinhibiting peptides (MIPs), which are also known as B-type allatostatins, are a family of neuropeptides found in protostomes. Their primary structure is characterized by an amidated carboxyl-terminal motif consisting of a conserved pair of tryptophan residues normally separated by six non-conserved amino acids (W(X6)Wamide). In the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, MIPs are likely the ancestral ligands of the sex peptide receptor, which plays an important role in courtship and reproduction. Recently, several endogenous MIPs were discovered in the Chagas disease vector, Rhodnius prolixus, having both conserved (W(X6)Wamide) and atypical (W(X7)Wamide) carboxyl-terminal motifs. Physiological functions of MIPs are plentiful and include inhibition of visceral muscle activity; a role that has been illustrated on hindgut in R. prolixus. In order to identify novel physiological targets and elucidate biological actions for the MIPs in R. prolixus, we have isolated and examined the spatial expression profile of the MIP receptor transcript in various fifth instar tissues and have additionally determined the expression profile in reproductive tissues of fifth instar as well as adult insects. The most abundant MIP receptor transcript expression was found in the salivary glands and central nervous system, which corroborates roles previously determined for MIPs in other insects. We functionally-characterized the endogenous MIP receptor and examined its activation by R. prolixus MIPs containing the typical W(X6)Wamide and atypical W(X7)Wamide carboxyl-terminal motifs. These peptides dose-dependently activated the MIP receptor (RhoprMIPr1) with EC50 values in the mid-nanomolar range. We also examined the activity of these RhoprMIPs on spontaneous muscle contractions of oviducts from female adult R. prolixus. Our findings confirm the myoinhibitory nature of the MIP peptides, which dose-dependently reduced spontaneous oviduct contractions by nearly 70%, again having mid-nanomolar EC50 values. Finally, we utilized a heterologous receptor assay and oviduct bioassay to examine the activity of several MIP structural analogs, which independently confirmed the requirement of the highly conserved tryptophan residues as well as the amidated C-terminus for retaining full biological activity.