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      cNeuropeptide Y family of peptides: Structure, anatomical expression, function, and molecular evolution

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      Biochemistry and Cell Biology

      Canadian Science Publishing

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          Neuropeptide Y--a novel brain peptide with structural similarities to peptide YY and pancreatic polypeptide.

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            Sensitivity to leptin and susceptibility to seizures of mice lacking neuropeptide Y.

            Neuropeptide Y (NPY), a 36-amino-acid transmitter distributed throughout the nervous system, is thought to function as a central stimulator of feeding behaviour. NPY has also been implicated in the modulation of mood, cerebrocortical excitability, hypothalamic-pituitary signalling, cardiovascular physiology and sympathetic function. However, the biological significance of NPY has been difficult to establish owing to a lack of pharmacological antagonists. We report here that mice deficient for NPY have normal food intake and body weight, and become hyperphagic following food deprivation. Mutant mice decrease their food intake and lose weight, initially to a greater extent than controls, when treated with recombinant leptin. Occasional, mild seizures occur in NPY-deficient mice and mutants are more susceptible to seizures induced by a GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) antagonist. These results indicate that NPY is not essential for certain feeding responses or leptin actions but is an important modulator of excitability in the central nervous system.
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              Archetypal organization of the amphioxus Hox gene cluster.

              Organization into gene clusters is an essential and diagnostic feature of Hox genes. Insect and nematode genomes possess single Hox gene clusters (split in Drosophila); in mammals, there are 38 Hox genes in four clusters on different chromosomes. A collinear relationship between chromosomal position, activation time and anterior expression limit of vertebrate Hox genes suggests that clustering may be important for precise spatiotemporal gene regulation and hence embryonic patterning. Hox genes have a wide phylogenetic distribution within the metazoa, and are implicated in the control of regionalization along the anteroposterior body axis. It has been suggested that changes in Hox gene number and genomic organization played a role in metazoan body-plan evolution, but identifying significant changes is difficult because Hox gene organization is known from only very few and widely divergent taxa (principally insects, nematodes and vertebrates). Here we analyse the complexity and organization of Hox genes in a cephalochordate, amphioxus, the taxon thought to be the sister group of the vertebrates. We find that the amphioxus genome has only one Hox gene cluster. It has similar genomic organization to the four mammalian Hox clusters, and contains homologues of at least the first ten paralogous groups of vertebrate Hox genes in a collinear array. Remarkably, this organization is compatible with that inferred for a direct ancestor of the vertebrates; we conclude that amphioxus is a living representative of a critical intermediate stage in Hox cluster evolution.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Biochemistry and Cell Biology
                Biochem. Cell Biol.
                Canadian Science Publishing
                0829-8211
                1208-6002
                April 02 2000
                April 02 2000
                : 78
                : 3
                : 371-392
                Article
                10.1139/o00-004
                © 2000
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