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Peptidergic control of food intake and digestion in insects

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Abstract:

Like all heterotrophic organisms, insects require a strict control of food intake and efficient digestion of food into nutrients to maintain homeostasis and to fulfill physiological tasks. Feeding and digestion are steered by both external and internal signals that are transduced by a multitude of regulatory factors, delivered either by neurons innervating the gut or mouthparts, or by midgut endocrine cells. The present review gives an overview of peptide regulators known to control feeding and digestion in insects. We describe the discovery and functional role in these processes for insect allatoregulatory peptides, diuretic hormones, FMRFamide-related peptides, (short) neuropeptide F, proctolin, saliva production stimulating peptides, kinins, and tachykinins. These peptides control either gut myoactivity, food intake, and (or) release of digestive enzymes. Some peptides exert their action at multiple levels, possibly having a biological function that depends on their site of delivery. Many regulatory peptides have been physically extracted from different insect species. However, multiple peptidomics, proteomics, transcriptomics, and genome sequencing projects have led to increased discovery and prediction of peptide (precursor) and receptor sequences. In combination with physiological experiments, these large-scale projects have already led to important steps forward in unraveling the physiology of feeding and digestion in insects.

Keywords: digestion; insect; insecte; midgut; neuropeptides; stomatogastric nervous system; système nerveux stomogastrique; tube digestif moyen

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/z2012-014

Publication date: April 1, 2012

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  • Published since 1929, this monthly journal reports on primary research contributed by respected international scientists in the broad field of zoology, including behaviour, biochemistry and physiology, developmental biology, ecology, genetics, morphology and ultrastructure, parasitology and pathology, and systematics and evolution. It also invites experts to submit review articles on topics of current interest.
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