Guanylyl cyclases are usually characterized as being either soluble (sGCs) or receptor (rGCs). We have recently cloned a novel guanylyl cyclase, MsGC-I, from the developing nervous system of the hawkmoth Manduca sexta that cannot be classified as either an sGC or an rGC. MsGC-I shows highest sequence identity with receptor guanylyl cyclases throughout its catalytic and dimerization domains, but does not contain the ligand-binding, transmembrane or kinase-like domains characteristic of receptor guanylyl cyclases. In addition, MsGC-I contains a C-terminal extension of 149 amino acid residues. In this paper, we report the expression of MsGC-I in the adult. Northern blots show that it is expressed preferentially in the nervous system, with high levels in the pharate adult brain and antennae. In the antennae, immunohistochemical analyses show that it is expressed in the cell bodies and dendrites, but not axons, of olfactory receptor neurons. In the brain, it is expressed in a variety of sensory neuropils including the antennal and optic lobes. It is also expressed in structures involved in higher-order processing including the mushroom bodies and central complex. This complicated expression pattern suggests that this novel guanylyl cyclase plays an important role in mediating cyclic GMP levels in the nervous system of Manduca sexta.

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