Characterizing Peptides in the Brain

Neuropeptidomics is a fairly recent term that indicates the global measurement and identification of the complement of peptides in a cell, tissue or extract from the brain or nervous system tissue.  Obviously, peptide measurements have a much longer history, but the ability to approach global characterization and generation of lists of literally hundreds of peptides from a tissue represents a change in scale of such efforts. 

We measure the peptides in a range of cell types such as glia and neurons, and animal models.  For example, neuropeptide genes are difficult to annotate and so we are working with several genome efforts to discover the neuropeptides in important model organisms. This also allows us to follow the development of neuropeptide families across diverse phyla, and with semi-quantitative measurements, to determine which peptides change depending on exposure to drugs of abuse or behavioral state.

Peptidomics projects:
  • Improving prohormone processing prediction with bioinformatics
  • Enhancing peptide characterization using FT-MS
  • Extracting and measuring the peptides
  • Relative quantitation of peptide levels
Characterizing new neuropeptide genes and peptides in the following animal models:
  • Sea slug: Aplysia
  • Honey bee: Apis
  • Ctenophore
  • Planarian
  • Sea urchin
  • Song bird
  • Mammals
  • Glia peptidome
Applications of Peptidomics: see the Neuroproteomics & Neurometabolomics Center on Cell-Cell Signaling for information on individual neuropeptide projects.

Relevant Publications:

Romanova EV, Sweedler JV. Peptidomics for the discovery and characterization of neuropeptides and hormones. Trends Pharmacol. Sci. 36, 2015, 579-86.