Peptidomics of a single identified neuron reveals diversity of multiple neuropeptides with convergent actions on cellular excitability

C.R. Jimenez, S. Spijker, S. de Schipper, J.C. Lodder, C.K. Janse, W.P.M. Geraerts, J. van Minnen, N.I. Syed, A.L. Burlingame, A.B. Smit, K.W. Li

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In contrast to classical transmitters, the detailed structures and cellular and synaptic actions of neuropeptides are less well described. Peptide mass profiling of single identified neurons of the mollusc Lymnaea stagnalis indicated the presence of 17 abundant neuropeptides in the cardiorespiratory neuron, visceral dorsal 1 (VD1), and a subset of 14 peptides in its electrically coupled counterpart, right parietal dorsal 2. Altogether, based on this and previous work, we showed that the high number of peptides arises from the expression and processing of four distinct peptide precursor proteins, including a novel one. Second, we established a variety of posttranslational modifications of the generated peptides, including phosphorylation, disulphide linkage, glycosylation, hydroxylation, N-terminal pyro-glutamylation, and C-terminal amidation. Specific synapses between VD1 and its muscle targets were formed, and their synaptic physiology was investigated. Whole-cell voltage-clamp analysis of dissociated heart muscle cells revealed, as tested for a selection of representative family members and their modifications, that the peptides of VD1 exhibit convergent activation of a high-voltage-activated Ca current. Moreover, the differentially glycosylated and hydroxylated α2 peptides were more potent than the unmodified α2 peptide in enhancing these currents. Together, this study is the first to demonstrate that single neurons exhibit such a complex pattern of peptide gene expression, precursor processing, and differential peptide modifications along with a remarkable degree of convergence of neuromodulatory actions. This study thus underscores the importance of a detailed mass spectrometric analysis of neuronal peptide content and peptide modifications related to neuromodulatory function. Copyright © 2006 Society for Neuroscience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)518-529
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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