Muscle activity is regulated by stimulatory and inhibitory neuropeptides allowing for contraction and relaxation. In Arthropods, one of the important myoinhibitors is Myosuppressin, belonging to FMRFamide-like peptides, that was shown to have inhibitory effects on visceral muscle contraction and to regulate vital physiological processes including reproduction or feeding. We have identified myosuppressin in salmon louse Lepeophtheirus salmonis (LsalMS) and systematically characterised its function and complex abnormalities emerging after LsalMS knockdown by RNAi in all developmental stages in this species. Immunohistochemistry analysis localized the LsalMS mainly to the central nervous system, but also to the vital organs within the alimentary tract and the reproductive system. The most striking feature of LsalMS deficiency during lice development was severe reduction of the muscle content, with abnormalities detected in both the visceral and skeletal muscles. Moreover, down-regulation of LsalMS affects moulting, spermatophore deposition and feeding by affecting development of the intestinal wall and increasing its contraction frequency.
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