Tachykinins (TKs) are a family of neurotransmitters that function as signaling molecules for such processes as maintaining homeostasis, regulating stress response, and modulating pain. TKs require the expression of at least one of three receptor subtypes: Neurokinin Receptor-1 (NKR-1), Neurokinin Receptor-2 (NKR-2), or Neurokinin Receptor-3 (NKR-3). We have isolated and cloned a portion of a gene coding for a tachykinin-like receptor from the nemertean Paranemertes sp. This 488-bp portion contains a short 101-bp segment that shares 85% similarity to the mouse substance-K receptor in Mus musculus and 83% similarity to the moth neuropeptide receptor A24 in Bombyx mori. Translated homology analysis aligning the coding sequence with the initial cytoplasmic carboxyl terminus of numerous G-protein coupled neuropeptide receptors also revealed 73% similarity to B. mori neuropeptide receptor A24. Our finding is the first report of a sequence amplified from Paranemertes sp. that may code for a small portion of a G-protein-coupled neuropeptide receptor with significant similarity to the TKR family, particularly the NKR-3 receptor isoform. This novel finding may open new avenues into exploring the role of tachykinin and its receptor in nemertean neurophysiology.
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Vol. 32 • No. 6