Previously, a corticotropin releasing factor (CRF)-like diuretic peptide (Manduca-DH) has been isolated from Manduca sexta and shown to stimulate fluid excretion in vivo in post-eclosion Pieris rapae adults and in pre-wandering postfeeding Manduca sexta larvae. However, Manduca- DH was reported to have no effect on Malpighian tubules in vitro.

Manduca-DH and [Nle2,11]-Manduca-DH were synthesized in Texas and assayed in London on isolated Malpighian tubules of Acheta domesticus. Manduca- DH stimulated fluid secretion by about 60% of the maximum response achievable with extracts of corpora cardiaca and increased the production of cyclic AMP. In combination with 10−4 mol l−1 3-isobutyl-l-methyl xanthine (IBMX), Manduca-DH stimulated maximal secretion. A number of CRF-related peptides also stimulated fluid secretion and cyclic AMP production in cricket tubules, and the CRF antagonist α-helical-CRF[9-14] blocked the stimulation of fluid secretion by Manduca-DH. [Nle2,11]-Manduca-DH was more active than Manduca-DH in both assays, suggesting that methionine residues in the natural peptide may become oxidized.

Taken in conjunction with previous in vivo studies, the present findings suggest that a Manduca-DH-Mke diuretic peptide is the hormone controlling post-eclosion diuresis in butterflies, and Manduca-DH was shown to stimulate both fluid secretion and cyclic AMP production in Malpighian tubules from 1–12 h posteclosion Pieris rapae adults. The function of the peptide in Manduca sexta is discussed.

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