RYamides were first identified in genome of the wasp Nasonia vitripennis (Hauser et al., 2010) and later related peptides were found in Bombyx mori and Drosophila melanogaster, as well as in crustaceans, annelids, molluscs and nematodes (Roller et al., 2016, Ida et al., 2011; Veenstra, 2014). RYamides are characterized by a C-terminal consensus sequence FFXGSRYamide (Hauser et al., 2010; Roller et al., 2016). The RYamide encoding genes in insects give rise to multiple peptides with RYamide C-terminus, e. g. seven in Nasonia and two in Drosophila (encoded on CG40733) and Bombyx (Hauser et al., 2010; Ida et al., 2011; Roller et al., 2016). Receptors for RYamides have been identified in Nasonia and Drosophila (Collin et al., 2011; Ida et al., 2011). The Drosophila receptor (CG5811: NepYR) and that of Nasonia are ancestrally related to neuropeptide Y receptors of mammals.
The RYamide distribution was investigated in Bombyx mori by in situ hybridization, and was found in 20 neurons in the brain and terminal abdominal ganglion, as well as in endocrine cells of the midgut (Roller et al., 2016).
Injection of RYamide-1 in Drosophila increases the threshold of the proboscis extension reflex, indicating a reduced motivation to feed (Ida et al., 2011). The distribution of RYamide may also suggest a role in gut function (Roller et al., 2016).
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