Molecular cloning of a cDNA encoding the neuropeptides APGWamide and cerebral peptide 1: Localization of APGWamide-like immunoreactivity in the central nervous system and male reproductive organs of Aplysia

Xuemo Fan, Roger P. Croll, Bo Wu, Li Fang, Qiang Shen, Sherry D. Painter, Gregg T. Nagle

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While much is known about the neural and endocrine mechanisms that control egg laying in the gastropod mollusk Aplysia, relatively little is known about the regulation of male reproductive activity in this simultaneous hermaphrodite. In the present study, we have cloned and sequenced a cDNA that encodes a precursor protein, the predicted posttranslational processing of which presumably generates nine copies of the neuropeptide Ala-Pro-Gly-Trp- NH2 (APGWamide), five connecting peptide sequences, and a C-terminal peptide. The sequence of one connecting peptide is identical to the previously characterized cerebral peptide 1. Northern blot analysis identified two major APGWamide mRNA transcripts (~1.3 kb, ~2.4 kb), which were present in central nervous system ganglia, but were most abundant in the right cerebral and right pedal ganglia. Immunohistochemical studies using sexually mature Aplysia demonstrated that the vast majority of APGWamide- like immunoreactivity was localized in 3040 neurons along the anterior and medial margins of the right cerebral ganglion and in a cluster of 15-20 neurons in the right pedal ganglion. A total of only about ten immunoreactive neurons were located in other ganglia. Immunohistochemistry also demonstrated that APGWamide was present in the reproductive organs that participate in the storage or transport of sperm, including the small hermaphroditic duct (site of sperm storage before mating), the white hemiduct (also known as the copulatory duct), and penial complex. As a group, these data suggest that APGWamide may play a role in regulating male reproductive function in Aplysia, as it does in other gastropods.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-62
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Oct 13 1997
Externally publishedYes



  • Gastropod
  • Mollusk
  • Peptidergic neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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