Neuropeptides in the regulation of Rhodnius prolixus physiology

Journal of Insect Physiology
Sheila Ons


In the kissing bug Rhodnius prolixus, events such as diuresis, antidiuresis, development and reproduction are triggered by blood feeding. Hence, these events can be accurately timed, facilitating physiological experiments. This, combined with its relatively big size, makes R. prolixus an excellent model in insect neuroendocrinological studies. The importance of R. prolixus as a Chagas' disease vector as much as an insect model has motivated the sequencing of its genome in recent years, facilitating genetic and molecular studies. Most crucial physiological processes are regulated by the neuroendocrine system, composed of neuropeptides and their receptors. The identification and characterization of neuropeptides and their receptors could be the first step to find targets for new insecticides. The sequences of 41 neuropeptide precursor genes and the receptors for most of them were identified in the R. prolixus genome. Functional information about many of these molecules was obtained, whereas many neuroendocrine systems are still unstudied in this model species. This review addresses the knowledge available to date regarding the structure, distribution, expression and physiological effects of neuropeptides in R. prolixus, and point...Continue Reading


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