Invertebrates yield a plethora of atypical guanylyl cyclases

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52 Scopus citations


Invertebrate model systems have a long history of generating new insights into neuronal signaling systems. This review focuses on cyclic GMP signaling and describes recent advances in understanding the properties and functions of guanylyl cyclases in invertebrates. The sequencing of three invertebrate genomes has provided a complete catalog of the guanylyl cyclases in C. elegans, Drosophila, and the mosquito Anopheles gambiae. Using this data and that from cloned guanylyl cyclases in Manduca sexta, C. elegans, and Drosophila, plus predictions and models from vertebrate guanylyl cyclases, evidence is presented that there is a much broader array of properties for these enzymes than previously realized. In addition to the classic homodimeric receptor guanylyl cyclases, C. elegans has at least two receptor guanylyl cyclases that are predicted to require heterodimer formation for activity. Soluble guanylyl cyclases are generally recognized as being obligate heterodimers that are activated by nitric oxide (NO). Some of the soluble guanylyl cyclases in C. elegans may heterodimeric, but all appear to be insensitive to NO. The β2 soluble guanylyl cyclase subunit in mammals and similar ones in Manduca and Drosophila are active in the absence of additional subunits and there is evidence that Drosophila and Anopheles also express an additional subunit that enhances this activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-115
Number of pages19
JournalMolecular Neurobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2004


  • Cyclic GMP
  • Guanylyl cyclase
  • Nitric oxide
  • Signal transduction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neurology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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