Project Title: The comparative physiology and evolution of corticotropin-releasing hormone (CRH) and calcitonin: the starfish (Asterias rubens) as a new experimental system.
Summary: The aim of my project will be to use common starfish Asterias rubrns as a new model system to investigate the evolution and physiological roles of neuropeptide signalling system. In this project, mass spectroscopic techniques will be used to identify neuropeptides present in nerve cord extracts from Asterias rubens. Then coloning of neuropeptide precursor cDNAs and use mRNA in situ hybridization techniques will enable patterns of neuropeptide precusor gene expression in Asterias rubens to be determined. Then, informed by expression data, the physiological roles of selected neuropeptides will be investigated using in vitro and in vivo pharmacology.