Identification, spatial expression analysis and functional characterization of a pyrokinin-1 receptor in the Chagas’ disease vector, Rhodnius prolixus
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The capability or capa gene, encodes a pyrokinin-related peptide (known as pyrokinin-1, PK1) that contains the consensus carboxy-terminal sequence of WFGPRL-NH(2). Although the CAPA precursor polypeptide in Rhodnius prolixus yields the anti-diuretic hormone, RhoprCAPA-α2, no function has yet been elucidated for the pyrokinin-1 peptide, RhoprCAPA-αPK1. In order to elucidate the possible physiological roles of the PK1-related peptides in R. prolixus, we have isolated and functionally characterized the PK1 receptor, RhoprPK1-R. Additionally, we have determined a set of three optimal reference genes to utilize for normalization of data obtained when carrying out spatial expression analyses via quantitative reverse transcriptase PCR (RT-qPCR) in various tissues of fifth instar R. prolixus. The RhoprPK1-R expression profile differs strikingly from the receptor for the anti-diuretic hormone RhoprCAPA-α2, which is localized mainly to gut epithelial tissues. Instead, RhoprPK1-R expression in fifth instar stage insects was identified in tissues that are not involved in osmotic and ionic balance, including the prothoracic glands, male reproductive tissues and a pooled sample composed of fat body, dorsal vessel, abdominal nerves and female reproductive tissues. Thus, this research establishes novel possibilities for the physiological roles of the pyrokinin-related peptides in this medically relevant disease vector.
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