Cerebrin prohormone processing, distribution and action in Aplysia californica

L. Li, P. D. Floyd, S. S. Rubakhin, E. V. Romanova, J. Jing, V. Y. Alexeeva, N. C. Dembrow, K. R. Weiss, F. S. Vilim, J. V. Sweedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The isolation, characterization, and bioactivity in the feeding circuitry of a novel neuropeptide in the Aplysia californica central nervous system are reported. The 17-residue amidated peptide, NGGTADALYNLPDLEKlamide, has been termed cerebrin due to its primary location in the cerebral ganglion. Liquid chromatographic purification guided by matrix-assisted laser desorption/ionization time-of-flight mass spectrometry allowed the isolation of the peptide with purity adequate for Edman sequencing. The cerebrin cDNA has been characterized and encodes an 86 amino acid prohormone that predicts cerebrin and one additional peptide. Mapping using in situ hybridization and immunocytochemistry showed that cerebrin containing neuronal somata are localized almost exclusively in the cerebral ganglion, mostly in the F- and C-clusters. Both immunostaining and mass spectrometry demonstrated the presence of cerebrin in the neurohemal region of the upper labial nerve. In addition, immunoreactive processes were detected in the neuropil of all of the ganglia, including the buccal ganglia, and in some interganglionic connectives, including the cerebral-buccal connective. This suggests that cerebrin may also function as a local signaling molecule. Cerebrin has a profound effect on the feeding motor pattern elicited by the command-like neuron CBI-2, dramatically shortening the duration of the radula protraction in a concentration-dependent manner, mimicking the motor-pattern alterations observed in food induced arousal states. These findings suggest that cerebrin may contribute to food-induced arousal in the animal. Cerebrin-like immunoreactivity is also present in Lymnaea stagnalis suggesting that cerebrin-like peptides may be widespread throughout gastropoda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1569-1580
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Neurochemistry
Issue number6
StatePublished - 2001


  • Aplysia californica
  • cDNA cloning
  • Immunocytochemistry
  • In situ hybridization
  • Lymnaea stagnalis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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