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By means of single-cell matrix assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry, we analysed neuropeptide expression in all FXPRLamide/pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide synthesizing neurons of the adult tobacco hawk moth, Manduca sexta. Mass spectra clearly suggest a completely identical processing of the pheromone biosynthesis activating neuropeptide-precursor in the mandibular, maxillary and labial neuromeres of the subesophageal ganglion. Only in the pban-neurons of the labial neuromere, products of two neuropeptide genes, namely the pban-gene and the capa-gene, were detected. Both of these genes expressed, amongst others, sequence-related neuropeptides (extended WFGPRLamides). We speculate that the expression of the two neuropeptide genes is a plesiomorph character typical of moths. A detailed examination of the neuroanatomy and the peptidome of the (two) pban-neurons in the labial neuromere of moths with homologous neurons of different insects indicates a strong conservation of the function of this neuroendocrine system. In other insects, however, the labial neurons either express products of the fxprl-gene or products of the capa-gene. The processing of the respective genes is reduced to extended WFGPRLamides in each case and yields a unique peptidome in the labial cells. Thus, sequence-related messenger molecules are always produced in these cells and it seems that the respective neurons recruited different neuropeptide genes for this motif.

Original publication




Journal article


J Neurochem

Publication Date





757 - 765


Animals, Ganglia, Invertebrate, Insect Proteins, Manduca, Molecular Sequence Data, Neurons, Neuropeptides, Protein Structure, Tertiary, Spectrometry, Mass, Matrix-Assisted Laser Desorption-Ionization