Pituitary Adenylate Cyclase-Activating Polypeptide (PACAP) Peptides

PACAP sequence is conserved in mammals

Pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP), a member of the vasoactive intestinal peptide/secretin/glucagon family, has an amino acid sequence identity of 68% with vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP).

PACAP38, derived from a 176-amino acid precursor (preproPACAP), is a 38-amino acid peptide discovered as an ovine hypothalamic neuropeptide.

The amino acid sequence of PACAP is identical in all mammals, and in species such as chicken, frog, salmon, only 1–3 amino acids are different.

PACAP-27 is a neuropeptide originally isolated from bovine hypothalamus but is also found in humans and rats. It shows considerable homology with VIP but stimulates adenylate cyclase much more potently than VIP.

PACAP-27 and PACAP-38 stimulate cAMP accumulation and increase [Ca2+] through the type I PACAP receptors. PACAP (6-38) is a potent antagonist of PACAP-38.

Effects of PACAP

It is abundant in both the central and peripheral nervous systems and exerts a variety of effects.

PACAP in pancreatic islets may play a parasympathetic and sensory neurotransmitter role. PACAP stimulates insulin secretion from islets in a glucose-dependent manner at femtomolar concentrations, acting as an insulinotropic factor.

PACAP and VIP are two multifunctional neuropeptides modulating innate and adaptive immunity. VIP/PACAP protect T cells from activation-induced cell death through down-regulation of Fas ligand. PACAP immunoreactivity has been shown in nerve fibers innervating the intrapancreatic ganglia as well as the islets of Langerhans in pancreas.


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