★ The adipokinetic peptides of four triatomide bugs are sequenced. ★ Three novel AKHs are identified: a deca-, a nona- and an octapeptide. ★ The novel synthetic AKHs cause a very mild hyperlipaemia. ★ The AKH of Rhodnius prolixus is detected by mass spectrometry.
Peptides of the adipokinetic hormone (AKH)/red pigment-concentrating hormone (RPCH) family were isolated and sequenced from the retrocerebral corpora cardiaca of four kissing bugs which are all vectors of the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi responsible for Chagas’ disease. The sequence of three novel AKHs were deduced from the multiple MSN electrospray mass data: the octapeptide pGlu-Leu-Thr-Phe-Ser-Thr-Asp-Trp amide (denoted Rhopr-AKH) in Rhodnius prolixus and Panstrongylus megistus, the nonapeptide pGlu-Leu-Thr-Phe-Thr-Pro-Asn-Trp-Gly amide (denoted Triin-AKH) in Triatoma infestans and the decapeptide pGlu-Leu-Thr-Phe-Ser-Asp-Gly-Trp-Gly-Asn amide (denoted Dipma-AKH) in Dipetalogaster maxima. The sequences were confirmed by identical behavior of natural and synthetic forms in reversed-phase HPLC and by CID-MS mass spectra. Conspecific injections of a dose of 10 pmol of the respective synthetic peptides resulted in a small but significant increase of the lipid concentration in the hemolymph. These experiments suggest that AKHs in kissing bugs act to regulate lipid metabolism, possibly during dispersal flights which is one of the mechanisms whereby the insects reach new outbreak areas.