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Keywords:

  • insect neuropeptides;
  • peptidomic;
  • transcriptomic;
  • genomic;
  • Rhodnius prolixus

Abstract

We show a straightforward workflow combining homology search in Rhodnius prolixus genome sequence with cloning by rapid amplification of cDNA ends and mass spectrometry. We have identified 32 genes and their transcripts that encode a number of neuropeptide precursors leading to 194 putative peptides. We validated by mass spectrometry 82 of those predicted neuropeptides in the brain of R. prolixus to achieve the first comprehensive genomic, transcriptomic and neuropeptidomic analysis of an insect disease vector. Comparisons of available insect neuropeptide sequences revealed that the R. prolixus genome contains most of the conserved neuropeptides in insects, many of them displaying specific features at the sequence level. Some gene families reported here are identified for the first time in the order Hemiptera, a highly biodiverse group of insects that includes many human, animal and plant disease agents.