Peptides are known to contribute to central pattern generator (CPG) flexibility throughout the animal kingdom. However, the role played by receptor diversity/complement in determining this functional flexibility is not clear. The stomatogastric ganglion (STG) of the crab, Cancer borealis, contains CPGs that are models for investigating peptidergic control of rhythmic behavior. Although many Cancer peptides have been identified, their peptide receptors are largely unknown. Thus, the extent to which receptor diversity/complement contributes to modulatory flexibility in this system remains unresolved. Here, a Cancer mixed nervous system transcriptome was used to determine the peptide receptor complement for the crab nervous system as a whole. Receptors for 27 peptide families, including multiple receptors for some groups, were identified. To increase confidence in the predicted sequences, receptors for allatostatin-A, allatostatin-B, and allatostatin-C were cloned, sequenced, and expressed in an insect cell line; as expected, all three receptors trafficked to the cell membrane. RT-PCR was used to determine whether each receptor was expressed in the Cancer STG. Transcripts for 36 of the 46 identified receptors were amplified; these included at least one for each peptide family except RYamide. Finally, two peptides untested on the crab STG were assessed for their influence on its motor outputs. Myosuppressin, for which STG receptors were identified, exhibited clear modulatory effects on the motor patterns of the ganglion, while a native RYamide, for which no STG receptors were found, elicited no consistent modulatory effects. These data support receptor diversity/complement as a major contributor to the functional flexibility of CPGs.
Dickinson, Patsy S.; Hull, J. Joe; Miller, Alexandra; Oleisky, Emily R.; and Christie, Andrew E., "To what extent may peptide receptor gene diversity/complement contribute to functional flexibility in a simple pattern-generating neural network?" (2019). Biology Faculty Publications. 60.