TitleIdentification and functional characterization of the first molluscan neuromedin U receptor in the slug, Deroceras reticulatum.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsAhn, S-J, Donnell, RJMc, Corcoran, JA, Martin, RC, Choi, M-Y
JournalSci Rep
Date Published2020 12 18

Neuromedin U (NmU) is a neuropeptide regulating diverse physiological processes. The insect homologs of vertebrate NmU are categorized as PRXamide family peptides due to their conserved C-terminal end. However, NmU homologs have been elusive in Mollusca, the second largest phylum in the animal kingdom. Here we report the first molluscan NmU/PRXamide receptor from the slug, Deroceras reticulatum. Two splicing variants of the receptor gene were functionally expressed and tested for binding with ten endogenous peptides from the slug and some insect PRXamide and vertebrate NmU peptides. Three heptapeptides (QPPLPRYa, QPPVPRYa and AVPRPRIa) triggered significant activation of the receptors, suggesting that they are true ligands for the NmU/PRXamide receptor in the slug. Synthetic peptides with structural modifications at different amino acid positions provided important insights on the core moiety of the active peptides. One receptor variant always exhibited higher binding activity than the other variant. The NmU-encoding genes were highly expressed in the slug brain, while the receptor gene was expressed at lower levels in general with relatively higher expression levels in both the brain and foot. Injection of the bioactive peptides into slugs triggered defensive behavior such as copious mucus secretion and a range of other anomalous behaviors including immobilization, suggesting their role in important physiological functions.

Alternate JournalSci Rep
PubMed ID33339848
PubMed Central IDPMC7749107