ABSTRACT

The crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP) is an important neuropeptide involved in the regulation of a variety of physiological processes in arthropods. Although this family of peptides has an ancestral origin, its function remains poorly understood among protostome species – apart from arthropods. We functionally characterized three G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) in the oyster Crassostrea gigas, phylogenetically related to ecdysozoan CCAP receptors (CCAPRs) and to chordate neuropeptide S receptors (NPSRs). Cragi-CCAPR1 and Cragi-CCAPR2 were specifically activated by the Cragi-CCAP1 and Cragi-CCAP2 peptides, respectively, both derived from the same CCAP precursor. In contrast, Cragi-CCAPR3 was only partially activated by CCAP1 and CCAP2 at high concentrations. The Cragi-CCAPR1 and Cragi-CCAPR2 genes were expressed in various adult tissues. They are both most expressed in the gills, while Cragi-CCAPR3 is mainly expressed in the visceral ganglia (VG). Cragi-CCAP precursor transcripts are higher in the VG, the labial palps and the gills. Receptor and ligand-encoding transcripts are more abundantly expressed in the gonads in the first stages of gametogenesis, while the Cragi-CCAP precursor is upregulated in the VG in the last stages of gametogenesis. This suggests a role of the CCAP signaling system in the regulation of reproductive processes. A role in water and ionic regulation is also supported considering the differential expression of the CCAP signaling components in oysters exposed to brackish water.

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