There is yet no firm experimental evidence that the evolutionary ancient gonadotropin-releasing hormone GnRH (i.e., GnRH1) also acts in invertebrate gametogenesis. The objective of this paper is to characterize candidate invGnRH peptides of Yesso scallop Patinopecten yessoensis (i.e., peptide identification, immunohistochemical localization, and immunoquantification) in order to reveal their bioactive form in bivalves. Using mass spectrometry (MS), we identified two invGnRH (py-GnRH) peptides from the scallop nerve ganglia: a precursor form of py-GnRH peptide (a non-amidated dodecapeptide; py-GnRH12aa-OH) and a mature py-GnRH peptide (an amidated undecapeptide; py-GnRH11aa-NH2). Immunohistochemical staining allowed the localization of both py-GnRH peptides in the neuronal cell bodies and fibers of the cerebral and pedal ganglia (CPG) and the visceral ganglion (VG). We found that the peptides showed a dimorphic distribution pattern. Notably, the broad distribution of mature py-GnRH in neuronal fibers elongating to peripheral organs suggests that it is multi-functional. Time-resolved fluorescent immunoassays (TR-FIA) enabled the quantification of each py-GnRH form in the single CPG or VG tissue obtained from one individual. In addition, we observed greater abundance of mature py-GnRH in VG compared with its level in CPG, suggesting that VG is the main producing organ of mature py-GnRH peptide and that py-GnRH may play a central regulatory role in neurons of scallops. Our study provides evidence, for the first time, for the presence of precursor and mature forms of invGnRH peptides in the nerve ganglia of an invertebrate.
Keywords: Bivalve; Cerebral and pedal ganglia; Mollusk; Neuropeptide; Visceral ganglion.
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