Neuropeptides are by far the most diverse signaling substances in the nervous system of invertebrates. Invertebrate neuropeptides are known to regulate many aspects of animal development, growth, reproduction, homeostasis, physiology, and behavior. There has been a tremendous increase in the number of identified neuropeptides, G-protein-coupled receptors, and other signaling components in several invertebrate species. This, combined with refined molecular genetics techniques, has advanced our understanding of the physiological roles of peptide signaling. This article provides a brief and topical overview of neuropeptides and their possible functions in some key groups of invertebrates and gives examples of evolutionary conservation of peptide signaling mechanisms. © 2009 Elsevier Ltd All rights reserved.
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