Neuropeptides and neuropeptide receptors in the Drosophila melanogaster genome

  • Hewes R
  • Taghert P
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Abstract

Recent genetic analyses in worms, flies, and mammals illustrate the importance of bioactive peptides in controlling numerous complex behaviors, such as feeding and circadian locomotion. To pursue a comprehensive genetic analysis of bioactive peptide signaling, we have scanned the recently completed Drosophila genome sequence for G protein-coupled receptors sensitive to bioactive peptides (peptide GPCRs). Here we describe 44 genes that represent the vast majority, and perhaps all, of the peptide GPCRs encoded in the fly genome. We also scanned for genes encoding potential ligands and describe 22 bioactive peptide precursors. At least 32 Drosophila peptide receptors appear to have evolved from common ancestors of 15 monophyletic vertebrate GPCR subgroups (e.g., the ancestral gastrin/cholecystokinin receptor). Six pairs of receptors are paralogs, representing recent gene duplications. Together, these findings shed light on the evolutionary history of peptide GPCRs, and they provide a template for physiological and genetic analyses of peptide signaling in Drosophila.

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