Predel, Reinhard6; Neupert, Susanne6; Russell, William K.3; Hauser, Frank7; Russell, David H.3; Li, Andrew4; Nachman, Ronald J.5
1 Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet2 University of Cologne3 Texas A & M University4 Knipling-Bushland U.S. Livestock Insects Research Laboratory5 Southern Plains Agricultural Research Center6 University of Cologne7 Cell Biology and Neurobiology, Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Københavns Universitet
Sandflies (Phlebotominae, Nematocera, Diptera) are responsible for transmission of leishmaniasis and other protozoan-borne diseases in humans, and these insects depend on the regulation of water balance to cope with the sudden and enormous intake of blood over a very short time period. The sandfly inventory of neuropeptides, including those that regulate diuretic processes, is completely unknown. Direct MALDI-TOF/TOF mass spectrometric analysis of dissected ganglia of Phlebotomus papatasi, combined with a data-mining of sandfly genome 'contigs', was used to identify native CAPA-peptides, a peptide class associated with the regulation of diuresis in other hematophagous insects. The CAPA-peptides identified in this study include two CAPA-PVKs, differentially processed CAPA-PK, and an additional CAPA precursor peptide. The mass spectrometric analysis of different parts of the neuroendocrine system of the sandfly indicate that it represents the first insect which accumulates CAPA-PVKs exclusively in hormone release sites of abdominal ganglia and CAPA-PK (nearly) exclusively in the corpora cardiaca. Additionally, sandflies feature the smallest abdominal ganglia (~35µm) where CAPA-peptides could be detected so far. The small size of the abdominal ganglia does not appear to affect the development of the median neurosecretory system as it obviously does in another comparably small insect species, Nasonia vitripennis, in which no capa-gene expression was found. Rather, immunocytochemical analyses confirm that the general architecture in sandflies appears identical to that of much larger mosquitoes.