Exploring the Sea Urchin Neuropeptide Landscape by Mass Spectrometry

Eric B. Monroe, Suresh P. Annangudi, Andinet A. Wadhams, Timothy A. Richmond, Ning Yang, Bruce R. Southey, Elena V. Romanova, Liliane Schoofs, Geert Baggerman, Jonathan V. Sweedler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Neuropeptides are essential cell-to-cell signaling messengers and serve important regulatory roles in animals. Although remarkable progress has been made in peptide identification across the Metazoa, for some phyla such as Echinodermata, limited neuropeptides are known and even fewer have been verified on the protein level. We employed peptidomic approaches using bioinformatics and mass spectrometry (MS) to experimentally confirm 23 prohormones and to characterize a new prohormone in nervous system tissue from Strongylocentrotus purpuratus, the purple sea urchin. Ninety-three distinct peptides from known and novel prohormones were detected with MS from extracts of the radial nerves, many of which are reported or experimentally confirmed here for the first time, representing a large-scale study of neuropeptides from the phylum Echinodermata. Many of the identified peptides and their precursor proteins have low homology to known prohormones from other species/phyla and are unique to the sea urchin. By pairing bioinformatics with MS, the capacity to characterize novel peptides and annotate prohormone genes is enhanced.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)923-934
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of the American Society for Mass Spectrometry
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2018


  • Bioinformatics
  • Mass spectrometry
  • Neuropeptides
  • Peptidomics
  • Sea urchin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Structural Biology
  • Spectroscopy


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