The nomenclature currently in use for insect neuropeptide and peptide hormone families is reviewed and suggestions are made as to how it can be rationalized. Based upon this review, a number of conventions are advanced as a guide to a more rationale nomenclature. The scheme that is put forward builds upon the binomial nomenclature scheme proposed by Raina and Gäde in 1988, when just over 20 insect neuropeptides had been identified. Known neuropeptides and peptide hormones are assigned to 32 structurally distinct families, frequently with overlapping functions. The names given to these families are those that are currently in use, and describe a biological function, homology to known invertebrate/vertebrate peptides, or a conserved structural motif. Interspecific isoforms are identified using a five-letter code to indicate genus and species names, and intraspecific isoforms are identified by Roman or Arabic numerals, with the latter used to signify the order in which sequences are encoded on a prepropeptide. The proposed scheme is sufficiently flexible to allow the incorporation of novel peptides, and could be extended to other arthropods and non-arthropod invertebrates.
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