Functional Hypervariability and Gene Diversity of Cardioactive Neuropeptides

Carolina Moeller, Christian Melaun, Cecilia Castillo, Mary E. Diaz, Chad M. Renzelman, Omar Estrada, Ulrich Kuch, Scott Lokey, Frank Mari

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) and related peptides are multifunctional regulatory neurohormones found in invertebrates. We isolated a CCAP-related peptide (conoCAP-a, for cone snail CardioActive Peptide) and cloned the cDNA of its precursor from venom of Conus villepinii. The precursor of conoCAP-a encodes for two additional CCAP-like peptides: conoCAP-b and conoCAP-c. This multi-peptide precursor organization is analogous to recently predicted molluscan CCAP-like preprohormones, and suggests a mechanism for the generation of biological diversification without gene amplification. While arthropod CCAP is a cardio-accelerator, we found that conoCAP-a decreases the heart frequency in Drosophila larvae, demonstrating that conoCAP-a and CCAP have opposite effects. Intravenous injection of conoCAP-a in rats caused decreased heart frequency and blood pressure in contrast to the injection of CCAP, which did not elicit any cardiac effect. Perfusion of rat ventricular cardiac myocytes with conoCAP-a decreased systolic calcium, indicating that conoCAP-a cardiac negative inotropic effects might be mediated via impairment of intracellular calcium trafficking. The contrasting cardiac effects of conoCAP-a and CCAP indicate that molluscan CCAP-like peptides have functions that differ from those of their arthropod counterparts. Molluscan CCAP-like peptides sequences, while homologous, differ between taxa and have unique sequences within a species. This relates to the functional hypervariability of these peptides as structure activity relationship studies demonstrate that single amino acids variations strongly affect cardiac activity. The discovery of conoCAPs in cone snail venom emphasizes the significance of their gene plasticity to have mutations as an adaptive evolution in terms of structure, cellular site of expression, and physiological functions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40673-40680
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Biological Chemistry
Issue number52
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2010


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