Mass spectrometric characterization of the neuropeptidome of the ghost crab Ocypode ceratophthalma (Brachyura, Ocypodidae)

Gen Comp Endocrinol. 2013 Apr 1;184:22-34. doi: 10.1016/j.ygcen.2012.12.008. Epub 2013 Jan 5.


The horn-eyed ghost crab Ocypode ceratophthalma is a terrestrial brachyuran native to the Indo-Pacific region, including the islands of Hawaii. Here, multiple mass spectrometric platforms, including matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight/time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (MALDI-TOF/TOF MS) and nanoflow liquid chromatography coupled with electrospray ionization quadrupole time-of-flight tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC-ESI-Q-TOF MS/MS), were used to characterize the neuropeptidome of this species. In total, 156 peptide paracrines/hormones, representing 15 peptide families, were identified from the O. ceratophthalma supraesophageal ganglion (brain), eyestalk ganglia, pericardial organ and/or sinus gland, including 59 neuropeptides de novo sequenced here for the first time. Among the de novo sequenced peptides were isoforms of A-type allatostatin, B-type allatostatin, FMRFamide-like peptide (FLP), orcokinin, orcomyotropin and RYamide. Of particular note, were several novel FLPs including DVRAPALRLRFamide, an isoform of short neuropeptide F, and NRSNLRFamide, the orcokinins NFDEIDRSGYGFV and DFDEIDRSSFGFH, which exhibit novel Y for F and D for N substitutions at positions 10 and 1, respectively, and FDAYTTGFGHS, a member of the orcomyotropin family exhibiting a novel Y for F substitution at position 4. Taken collectively, the set of peptides described here represents the largest number of neuropeptides thus far characterized via mass spectrometry from any single crustacean, and provides a framework for future investigations of the physiological roles played by these molecules in this species.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brachyura / metabolism*
  • Ganglion Cysts / metabolism
  • Neuropeptides / metabolism*
  • Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization
  • Tandem Mass Spectrometry


  • Neuropeptides
  • allatostatin
  • orcokinin