Functional characterization and related evolutionary implications of invertebrate gonadotropin-releasing hormone/corazonin in a well-established model species

Sci Rep. 2021 May 11;11(1):10028. doi: 10.1038/s41598-021-89614-5.


In vertebrates, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) peptide is the central mediator of reproduction. Homologous peptides have previously also been identified in molluscan species. However, emerging evidence suggests that these molecules might serve diverse regulatory functions and proposes to consider them as corazonin (CRZ). We previously isolated the full-length cDNA of the invGnRH/CRZ peptide (termed ly-GnRH/CRZ) in the well-established invertebrate model species, the great pond snail Lymnaea stagnalis; however, its predicted functions remain to be verified. In this study, we first confirmed the presence of the deduced active peptide from the central nervous system of L. stagnalis. Further, we performed in vivo and in vitro studies to explore the functions of ly-GnRH/CRZ. Injection of sexually mature specimens with synthetic active peptide had an inhibitory effect on locomotion and an acceleratory effect on egg-laying, but had no effect on feeding. The previously predicted modulatory effect of ly-GnRH/CRZ was supported by its identified co-localization with serotonin on the surface of the heart atria. Lastly, we demonstrated not only the presence of ly-GnRH/CRZ in the penial complex but also that ly-GnRH/CRZ-containing neurons project to the efferent penis nerve, suggesting ly-GnRH/CRZ may directly modulate the motor output of this peripheral tissue. Overall, our findings strongly support that ly-GnRH/CRZ is a multifunctional neuropeptide. These results contribute to the understanding of the GnRH superfamily and, more broadly, disciplines such as comparative endocrinology and neurobiology.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Central Nervous System / metabolism
  • Feeding Behavior
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / chemistry
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone / physiology
  • Locomotion
  • Lymnaea / chemistry
  • Lymnaea / physiology*
  • Neuropeptides / chemistry
  • Neuropeptides / physiology*
  • Oviparity


  • Neuropeptides
  • Gonadotropin-Releasing Hormone