Image author: Ladislav Šimo
What you need to know: During feeding, in addition to compromising of the host defense system, major physiological challenges include the need to increase body size to accommodate the enormous amount of blood consumed, increased metabolic rate, and the removal of metabolic waste and excessive water via the salivary glands. Blood feeding occurs along with mating and egg development in the adult stage and with molting in the larval and nymphal stages. Neuropeptides and protein hormones (collectively, neuropeptides) along their G-protein coupled receptors (GPCRs) are among the most important regulators directly and indirectly involved in all of these biological processes. In the genomes of insects more closely related to ticks, about 40 to 45 genes encoding pre-pro neuropeptides have been described and most of the ticks neuropeptides has their counterparts in other invertebrates.
Où on va? The tick neuropeptide research direction represent a highly specific field. Although the neuropeptide spectra is similar among invertebrates, their function dramatically diverse among particular taxa. In other words same neuropeptide may play completely different roles in different invertebrate species. In NeuroPaTick we focus on characterisation and distribution of the neuropeptides, with primary focus on the identification releasing and target sites of particular neuropeptides. Such an approach represent a steppingstone to the physiological approaches leading to identification of real function of neuropeptides in ticks lineage, that seems to be very different than in other invertebrates.