Document Type


Publication Date



C-type allatostatins (AST-Cs) are pleiotropic neuropeptides that are broadly conserved within arthropods; the presence of three AST-C isoforms, encoded by paralog genes, is common. However, these peptides are hypothesized to act through a single receptor, thereby exerting similar bioactivities within each species. We investigated this hypothesis in the American lobster, Homarus americanus, mapping the distributions of AST-C isoforms within relevant regions of the nervous system and digestive tract, and comparing their modulatory influences on the cardiac neuromuscular system. Immunohistochemistry showed that in the pericardial organ, a neuroendocrine release site, AST-C I and/or III and AST-C II are contained within distinct populations of release terminals. Moreover, AST-C I/III-like immunoreactivity was seen in midgut epithelial endocrine cells and the cardiac ganglion (CG), whereas AST-C II-like immunoreactivity was not seen in these tissues. These data suggest that AST-C I and/or III can modulate the CG both locally and hormonally; AST-C II likely acts on the CG solely as a hormonal modulator. Physiological studies demonstrated that all three AST-C isoforms can exert differential effects, including both increases and decreases, on contraction amplitude and frequency when perfused through the heart. However, in contrast to many state-dependent modulatory changes, the changes in contraction amplitude and frequency elicited by the AST-Cs were not functions of the baseline parameters. The responses to AST-C I and III, neither of which is COOH-terminally amidated, are more similar to one another than they are to the responses elicited by AST-C II, which is COOH-terminally amidated. These results suggest that the three AST-C isoforms are differentially distributed in the lobster nervous system/midgut and can elicit distinct behaviors from the cardiac neuromuscular system, with particular structural features, e.g., COOH-terminal amidation, likely important in determining the effects of the peptides. NEW & NOTEWORTHY Multiple isoforms of many peptides exert similar effects on neural circuits. In this study we show that each of the three isoforms of C-type allatostatin (AST-C) can exert differential effects, including both increases and decreases in contraction amplitude and frequency, on the lobster cardiac neuromuscular system. The distribution of effects elicited by the nonamidated isoforms AST-C I and III are more similar to one another than to the effects of the amidated AST-C II.