TNRNFLRFamide was isolated and sequenced from the stomatogastric nervous system of the crab Cancer borealis by reverse-phase high performance liquid chromatography followed by automated Edman degradation. An SDRNFLRFamide-like peptide that exactly co-migrated with SDRNFLRFamide was also observed. The effects of TNRNFLRFamide and SDRNFLRFamide on the gastric and pyloric rhythms of the stomatogastric nervous system of the crab Cancer borealis were studied. Both peptides activated pyloric rhythms in quiescent preparations in a dose-dependent manner with a threshold between 10(−11) and 10(−10) mol l-1. Both peptides increased the pyloric rhythm frequency of preparations showing moderate activity levels and had relatively little effect on preparations that showed strong pyloric rhythms prior to peptide application. Both peptides evoked gastric mill activity in preparations without existing gastric rhythms. The activation of the gastric rhythm is associated with activation of oscillatory properties in the dorsal gastric neurone. The induction of gastric rhythms by these peptides was accompanied by switches from pyloric-timed activity to gastric-timed activity by several stomatogastric ganglion neurones. Application of these peptides provides direct experimental control of circuit modification in the stomatogastric nervous system.

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