Neuropeptide gene families in the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 1999;897:239-52. doi: 10.1111/j.1749-6632.1999.tb07895.x.


Neuropeptides have diverse roles in the function and development of the nervous system. With the completion of the sequencing of the C. elegans genome, rapid identification of nematode neuropeptide genes is possible. To date, 41 C. elegans neuropeptide genes have been identified. Of these genes, 20 genes, named flp (FMRFamide-like peptide) genes, encode FMRFamide-related proteins (FaRPs). Deletion of one of the flp genes, flp-1, results in several behavioral defects, suggesting that at least one flp gene is not functionally redundant with other flp genes. Twenty-one genes, named neuropeptide-like protein (nlp) genes, encode peptides distinct from the FaRP family. The predicted nlp-1 and nlp-2 neuropeptides have modest similarity to buccalin and myomodulin, respectively. Cellular expression patterns and genetic analysis of flp and nlp genes suggest that neuropeptides in nematodes also have widespread and varied roles in nervous system function.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / genetics*
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / physiology
  • FMRFamide / analogs & derivatives
  • FMRFamide / chemistry
  • FMRFamide / genetics
  • Genes, Helminth*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Multigene Family*
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry
  • Neuropeptides / genetics*
  • Sequence Alignment
  • Sequence Homology, Amino Acid


  • Neuropeptides
  • FMRFamide