Associated Faculty
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William G. Bendena

  Invertebrate Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

  Contact Information:  
  Professor of Biology
B.Sc., University of Toronto;
Ph.D., University of Western Ontario
Postdoctoral Fellow, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA.

Tel: (613) 533-6121
Fax: (613) 533-6617
email: bendenaw@biology.queensu.ca


Neuropeptides are produced by the nervous system and function as hormones to control a range of essential processes, including muscle activity, the production of other hormones essential for development, metamorphosis, reproduction and the mobilization of energy reserves. Several families of neuropeptide sequences are specific to invertebrates and thus may provide an opportunity to develop novel means of bio-rationale insect pest control. Alternatively, manipulating neuropeptides may accelerate growth and reproduction in crustacea such as lobster and shrimp.

Our research is focused on the molecular description of neuropeptides, their biosynthesis, interaction with receptors and final mechanism of action. In particular, we have focused on neuropeptide families and their receptors that appear invertebrate-specific and whose lack of expression and/or inappropriate expression may have catastrophic effects on the physiology and/or behaviour of insects.

As one example, neuropeptides termed allatostatins inhibit the biosynthesis of juvenile hormone which has multiple regulatory roles in controlling insect development and reproduction. Allatostatins regulate the hormone methylfarnesoate in lobster and shrimp which also regulates growth and reproduction.A knowledge of the multiple target sites, metabolism and amino acid residues critical for action of allatostatins may aid in the design of stable peptidomimetics that might impair insect lifestyle by direct application or naturally enhance the production of crustaceans through aquaculture.

  1. PANCHAN, N., BENDENA, W.G., BOWSER, P., LUNGCHUKIET P., TOBE, S.S., SITHIGORNGUL, W., CHAIVISUTHANGKURA, P., RANGSIRUJI, A., PETSOM, A., PEWNIM, T. and SITHIGORNGUL, P (2003). Immunolocalization of allatostatin-like neuropeptides and their putative receptor in eyestalks of the tiger prawn, Penaeus monodon. Peptides, 24, 1563-1570.

2. SILVA GUNAWARDEN, Y.I.N., BENDENA, W.G., TOBE, S.S., and CHAN, S.M. (2003) Comparative immunohistochemistry study and cellular distribution of farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase in the shrimp and crayfish. Peptides, 24, 1591-1597.

3. GARSIDE, C.S., BENDENA, W.G. and TOBE, S.S. (2003) Quantification and visualization of Dippu-AST mRNA in the brain of adult Diploptera punctata: Mated females vs. virgin females vs. males. J. Insect Physiol. 49, 285-291.

4. NICHOLS, R., BENDENA, W.G. and TOBE, S.S. (2002) Drosophila melanogaster myotropic peptides and the genes that encode them. J. Neurogenetics 16, 1-28.

5. SILVA GUNAWARDEN, Y.I.N., TOBE, S.S., BENDENA, W.G., CHOW, B.K.C., YAGI, K.J., and CHAN, S.M. (2002) Function and cellular localization of Farnesoic acid O-methyltransferase (FAMeT) in the shrimp Metapenaeus ensis. Eur. J. Biochem., 269, 3587-3595.

6. GARSIDE, C.S., KOLADICH, P.M., BENDENA, W.G. and TOBE, S.S. (2002) Allatostatin: peptide localization and quantitative mRNA expression in the oviducts of the cockroach, Diploptera punctata. Insect Biochem. Mol. Biol. 32, 1089 - 1099.

7. KOLADICH, P.M., CUSSON, M., BENDENA, W.G., TOBE, S.S. and MCNEIL, J.N. (2002) Cardioacceleratory effects of Manduca sexta allatotropin in the true armyworm moth Pseudaletia unipuncta. Peptides 23, 645-651

8. PRICE, M.D., MERTE, J., NICHOLS, R., KOLADICH, P.M., TOBE, S.S. and BENDENA, W.G. (2002) Drosophila melanogaster flatline encodes a myotropin orthologue to Manduca sexta allatostatin. Peptides 23, 787-794.

9. LEE, E., LANGE, A., ORCHARD, I., FUSE, M., TOBE, S.S., BENDENA, W.G. and DONLY, B.C. (2002) Characterization and baculovirus-directed expression of a myosuppressin encoding cDNA from the true armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta. Peptides, 23, 747-756.

10. GARSIDE, C.S., BENDENA, W.G. and TOBE, S.S. (2001) Quantification of allatostatin mRNA in the midgut of Diploptera punctata In: ‘Perspective in Comparative Endocrinology: Unity and Diversity' (Eds. Goos, H.J.TH., Rastogi, R.K., Vaudry, H., Pierantoni, R.) pp 893-898, Monduzzi Editore, Bologna Italy.

11. ORCHARD, I., LANGE, A.B. and BENDENA, W.G. (2001) FMRFamide-related peptides: a multifunctional family of structurally-related neuropeptides in insects. Adv. Insect Physiol. 28, 268-329 (Evans, P. ed) Acad. Press, NY.

12. TOBE, S.S. and BENDENA, W.G (1999) The Regulation of Juvenile Hormone Production in Arthropods: Functional and Evolutionary Perspectives. In: 'Neuropeptides: Structure and Function in Biology and Behaviour', (Eds. Sandman, C. A., Strand, F.L., Beckwith, W., Chronwell, B.M., Flynn, F. and Nachman, R.J.) Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. (USA), Vol. 897, 300-310. Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. (USA)

13. BENDENA, W.G., DONLY, B.C. and TOBE, S.S. (1999) Allatostatins : a growing family of neuropeptides with structural and functional diversity. In: 'Neuropeptides: Structure and Function in Biology and Behaviour', (Eds. Sandman, C. A., Strand, F.L., Beckwith, W., Chronwell, B.M., Flynn, F. and Nachman, R.J.) Annals N.Y. Acad. Sci. (USA), Vol. 897, 311-329.