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Cardioacceleratory function of the neurohormone CCAP in the mosquito Anopheles gambiae
Tania Y. Estévez-Lao, Dacia S. Boyce, Hans-Willi Honegger, Julián F. Hillyer


Crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) is a highly conserved arthropod neurohormone that is involved in ecdysis, hormone release and the modulation of muscle contractions. Here, we determined the CCAP gene structure in the malaria mosquito Anopheles gambiae, assessed the developmental expression of CCAP and its receptor and determined the role that CCAP plays in regulating mosquito cardiac function. RACE sequencing revealed that the A. gambiae CCAP gene encodes a neuropeptide that shares 100% amino acid identity with all sequenced CCAP peptides, with the exception of Daphnia pulex. Quantitative RT-PCR showed that expression of CCAP and the CCAP receptor displays a bimodal distribution, with peak mRNA levels in second instar larvae and pupae. Injection of CCAP revealed that augmenting hemocoelic CCAP levels in adult mosquitoes increases the anterograde and retrograde heart contraction rates by up to 28%, and increases intracardiac hemolymph flow velocities by up to 33%. Partial CCAP knockdown by RNAi had the opposite effect, decreasing the mosquito heart rate by 6%. Quantitative RT-PCR experiments showed that CCAP mRNA is enriched in the head region, and immunohistochemical experiments in newly eclosed mosquitoes detected CCAP in abdominal neurons and projections, some of which innervated the heart, but failed to detect CCAP in the abdomens of older mosquitoes. Instead, in older mosquitoes CCAP was detected in the pars lateralis, the subesophageal ganglion and the corpora cardiaca. In conclusion, CCAP has a potent effect on mosquito circulatory physiology, and thus heart physiology in this dipteran insect is under partial neuronal control.


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