Intercellular signaling peptides (SPs) coordinate the activity of cells and influence organism behavior. SPs, a chemically and structurally diverse group of compounds responsible for transferring information between neurons, are broadly involved in neural plasticity, learning and memory, as well as in drug addiction phenomena. Historically, SP discovery and characterization has tracked advances in measurement capabilities. Today, a suite of analytical technologies is available to investigate individual SPs, as well as entire intercellular signaling complements, in samples ranging from individual cells to entire organisms. Immunochemistry and in situ hybridization are commonly used for following preselected SPs. Discovery-type investigations targeting the transcriptome and proteome are accomplished using high-throughput characterization technologies such as microarrays and mass spectrometry. By integrating directed approaches with discovery approaches, multiplatform studies fill critical gaps in our knowledge of drug-induced alterations in intercellular signaling. Throughout the past 35 years, the National Institute on Drug Abuse has made significant resources available to scientists that study the mechanisms of drug addiction. The roles of SPs in the addiction process are highlighted, as are the analytical approaches used to detect and characterize them.
- Mass spectrometry
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience