Neuropeptides constitute an important part of the nervous system, since the simple nerve nets (i.e. of Hydra). The assigned functions of these peptides vary enormously. For instance, besides inhibiting or stimulating the release of some hormones, they can be responsible for tentacle contraction of the Hydra, dropping the tail of the lizard, postnatal care of the beetles and also aggressiveness of humans. They perform these tasks via activating their cognate GPCRs, which are hypothesized to be coevolved with their ligand neuropeptides. In this chapter, we will introduce the concept of neuropeptide, its intracellular maturation process, characteristics of some typical neuropeptide families and the common properties of their cognate GPCRs. At last, we will try to give information about the widely used methods for studying GPCR-neuropeptide interactions.
Part of the book: Ligand