Purification and sequencing of neuropeptides contained in neuron R15 of Aplysia californica.

K. R. Weiss, H. Bayley, P. E. Lloyd, R. Tenenbaum, M. A. Kolks, L. Buck, E. C. Cropper, S. C. Rosen, I. Kupfermann

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R15 is a large identified neuron present in the abdominal ganglion of the mollusc Aplysia. Previous studies have indicated that this neuron may play a role in water balance and possibly renovascular functions. A peptidic factor contained in the neuron R15 has been shown to increase the water content of Aplysia. To determine the structure of the peptides contained in R15, we purified the extracts of 820 R15 cells by means of two steps of reverse-phase HPLC. The purification yielded a number of peptides, only one of which, R15 alpha 1, resulted in water uptake when injected into animals. Determination of the amino acid content and sequence analysis of the R15 alpha 1 peptide demonstrated that this peptide contains 38 residues, including two cysteines. The peptide failed to react with iodoacetate, indicating that the two cysteines are connected by a disulfide bridge. To confirm the assigned structure, the peptide was synthesized with a disulfide bridge. The chromatographic properties and bioactivity of the synthetic material were identical to those of the native peptide. Several other R15 peptides were inactive in the bioassay for water uptake. The sequence of one of these peptides (R15 beta) was determined, and it was established that the peptide contains 28 residues. Amino acid analysis of three other peaks was performed. One of these peaks contained a peptide (R15 beta f) whose amino acid composition suggests that it is a fragment of the R15 beta peptide. The other two peaks contained peptides with identical amino acid compositions, suggesting that they are variants of a single peptide (R15 gamma). The amino acid sequences of all the peptides identified in neuron R15 correspond to stretches of a polyprotein encoded by a recently sequenced R15 cDNA.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2913-2917
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number8
StatePublished - Apr 1989
Externally publishedYes


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