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Urbilaterian origin and evolution of sNPF-type neuropeptide signalling

Luis Alfonso Yanez Guerra; Xingxing zhong; Ismail Moghul; Thomas Butts; Cleidiane G. Zampronio; Alexandra M. Jones; Olivier Mirabeau; Maurice Richard Elphick

Physiology and behaviour are controlled by neuropeptide signalling systems comprising peptide ligands and cognate receptors. Molecular phylogenetics combined with experimental identification of neuropeptide-receptor pairs has revealed that many neuropeptide signalling systems originated in the urbilaterian common ancestor of protostomes and deuterostomes. Neuropeptide-Y/neuropeptide-F (NPY/NPF)-type signalling is one such example, whereas NPY/NPF-related short-NPF (sNPF)-type signalling has hitherto only been identified in protostomes. Here we report the discovery of a neuropeptide (pQDRSKAMQAERTGQLRRLNPRF-NH2) that is the ligand for an sNPF-type receptor in a deuterostome, the starfish Asterias rubens (Phylum Echinodermata). Informed by phylogenetic analysis of sequence data, we conclude that the paralogous NPY/NPF-type and sNPF-type signalling systems originated in Urbilateria but NPY/NPF-type signalling was lost in echinoderms. Furthermore, we present evidence that sNPF-type peptides are orthologs of vertebrate prolactin-releasing peptides. Our findings demonstrate the importance of experimental studies on echinoderms for reconstructing the evolutionary history of neuropeptide signalling systems.

This is the data used to produce the tree presented in figure 4
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