Mode of action of neuropeptides from the adipokinetic hormone family

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2003 Jun 1;132(1):10-20. doi: 10.1016/s0016-6480(03)00159-x.


Neuropeptides of the adipokinetic hormone (AKH) family regulate inter alia mobilisation of various substrates from stores in the fat body of insects during episodes of flight. How is this achieved? In insects which exclusively oxidise carbohydrates for flight (cockroaches), or which oxidise carbohydrates in conjunction with lipids (locusts) or proline (a number of beetles), the endogenous AKHs bind to a G(q)-protein-coupled receptor, activate a phospholipase C and the resulting inositol trisphosphate releases Ca(2+) from internal stores. In addition, influx of extracellular Ca(2+) is increased and, via a kinase cascade, glycogen phosphorylase is activated, glucose-1-phosphate produced, and transformed to trehalose, which is released into the haemolymph. In locusts, additionally, adenylate cyclase is activated and cyclic AMP is synthesised. In insects which use lipids for sustained flight (locust, tobacco hornworm moth) or proline for flight (certain beetles), adenylate cyclase is activated after the AKHs bind to their respective G(s)-protein-coupled receptor. The resulting cyclic AMP, together with the messengers intra- and extracellular Ca(2+), activate a triacylglycerol lipase, which results in the production of 1,2 diacylglycerols (in locusts, moths) or (hypothetically) free fatty acids (fruit beetle).

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence / genetics
  • Animals
  • GTP-Binding Proteins / metabolism
  • Hyperlipidemias / physiopathology
  • Insect Hormones / genetics
  • Insect Hormones / physiology*
  • Multigene Family / physiology*
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Oligopeptides / genetics
  • Oligopeptides / physiology*
  • Peptide Fragments / genetics
  • Proline / blood
  • Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Receptors, Cell Surface / physiology
  • Signal Transduction


  • Insect Hormones
  • Neuropeptides
  • Oligopeptides
  • Peptide Fragments
  • Receptors, Cell Surface
  • adipokinetic hormone
  • Proline
  • GTP-Binding Proteins
  • Pyrrolidonecarboxylic Acid