Mass spectrometric investigation of the neuropeptide complement and release in the pericardial organs of the crab, Cancer borealis

J Neurochem. 2003 Nov;87(3):642-56. doi: 10.1046/j.1471-4159.2003.02031.x.


The crustacean stomatogastric ganglion (STG) is modulated by both locally released neuroactive compounds and circulating hormones. This study presents mass spectrometric characterization of the complement of peptide hormones present in one of the major neurosecretory structures, the pericardial organs (POs), and the detection of neurohormones released from the POs. Direct peptide profiling of Cancer borealis PO tissues using matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization (MALDI) time-of-flight (TOF) mass spectrometry (MS) revealed many previously identified peptides, including proctolin, red pigment concentrating hormone (RPCH), crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP), several orcokinins, and SDRNFLRFamide. This technique also detected corazonin, a well-known insect hormone, in the POs for the first time. However, most mass spectral peaks did not correspond to previously known peptides. To characterize and identify these novel peptides, we performed MALDI postsource decay (PSD) and electrospray ionization (ESI) MS/MS de novo sequencing of peptides fractionated from PO extracts. We characterized a truncated form of previously identified TNRNFLRFamide, NRNFLRFamide. In addition, we sequenced five other novel peptides sharing a common C-terminus of RYamide from the PO tissue extracts. High K+ depolarization of isolated POs released many peptides present in this tissue, including several of the novel peptides sequenced in the current study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Brachyura*
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Insect Proteins*
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Neuropeptides / analysis*
  • Neuropeptides / isolation & purification*
  • Neuropeptides / pharmacology
  • Neurosecretory Systems / chemistry*
  • Neurosecretory Systems / drug effects
  • Neurosecretory Systems / metabolism*
  • Potassium / pharmacology
  • Sequence Analysis, Protein
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization


  • Insect Proteins
  • Neuropeptides
  • corazonin protein, insect
  • Potassium