Bioinformatic Prohormone Discovery in Basal Metazoans: Insights from Trichoplax

Methods Mol Biol. 2024:2757:531-581. doi: 10.1007/978-1-0716-3642-8_22.


Experimental discovery of neuropeptides and peptide hormones is a long and tedious task. Mining the genomic and transcriptomic sequence data with robust secretory peptide prediction tools can significantly facilitate subsequent experiments. We describe the application of various in silico neuropeptide discovery methods for the placozoan Trichopax adhaerens as an illustrated example and a powerful experimental paradigm for cellular and evolutionary biology. In total, 33 placozoan (neuro)peptide-like hormone precursors were found using homology-based BLAST search and repeat-based and comparative evolutionary methods. Some of the discovered precursors are homologous to insulins and RFamide precursors from Cnidaria and other animal phyla.

Keywords: Basal metazoans; Behavior; Cnidaria; Ctenophora; Nervous system evolution; Neuropeptides; Placozoa; Prohormone processing; Secretory molecules; Signaling.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Amino Acid Sequence
  • Animals
  • Computational Biology* / methods
  • Evolution, Molecular
  • Neuropeptides* / genetics
  • Neuropeptides* / metabolism
  • Phylogeny
  • Placozoa* / genetics


  • Neuropeptides