Identification and Characterization of the Corazonin Receptor and Possible Physiological Roles of the Corazonin-Signaling Pathway in Rhodnius prolixus

Rhodnius prolixus on a person's lips
Monday, August 15, 2016 - 10:48am

Our graduate students work at the frontiers of biology, evidenced by Zina Hamoudi’s (Orchard and Lange Labs) first lead-authored paper in Frontiers in Neuroscience. Neuropeptides control many physiological and endocrinological processes in animals, acting as neuroactive chemicals within the central and peripheral nervous systems. Corazonin (CRZ) is one such neuropeptide that has a variety of physiological roles. To understand the role of the corazonin (CRZ)-signaling pathway in Rhodnius prolixus, the vector for Chagas disease, Zina isolated the cDNA sequence encoding the Rhopr-CRZ receptor (CRZR) and characterized it using a functional receptor assay. She then used qPCR to give clues for possible functions of CRZ by seeing where the CRZR was expressed. A RNAi knock-down of CRZR showed that this neuropeptide controls basal heartbeat rate in vivo, but not ecdysis or coloration. Zina’s work takes us a step closer to understanding the genetic mechanisms underlying neurophysiology.

Congrats, Zina, on this exciting first paper!