Modulation of muscle contraction by a FMRFamide-related peptide
Quigley, Patricia A.
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A FMRFamide-like neuropeptide with the sequence "DRNFLRF-NH2" was recently isolated from pericardial organs of crayfish (Mercier et aI., Peptides, 14, 137-143, 1993). This neuropeptide, referred to as "DF2'" has already been shown to elicit cardioexcitation and to enhance synaptic transmission at neuromuscular junctions. Possible effects ofDF2 on muscle were investigated using superficial extensor muscles of the abdomen of the crayfish, Procambarus clar/ai. These muscles are of the tonic type and generate slow contractions that affect posture. DF2, at concentrations of 10-8 M or higher, increased muscle tonus and induced spontaneous, rhythmic contractions. These effects were antagonized by 5 rnM Mn2+ but not by lO-7M tetrodotoxin (TTX). Thus, they represent direct actions on muscle cells (rather than effects on motor neurons) and are likely to involve calcium influx. In contrast, deep abdominal extensor muscles, responsible for rapid swimming movements, and superficial flexor muscles do not generate contractions in response to the peptide. 2 Spontaneous contractions were also induced in the superficial extensor muscles by decreasing the temperature to II-13°C. Such contractions were also TTX-insensitive and they were antagonized by adding calcium channel blockers (Mn2+, Cd2+ or Ni2+) or by removing calcium from the bathing solution. This suggests that the spontaneous contractions depend on an influx of calcium from the extracellular solution. N-type and L-type voltage dependent calcium channel blockers did not reduce the effect of the peptide or the spontaneous contractions suggesting that calcium influx is not through N- or L-type calcium channels.