PROSITE documentation PDOC00240
Tachykinin family signature


Tachykinins [1,2,3] are a group of biologically active peptides which excite neurons, evoke behavioral responses, are potent vasodilatators and contract (directly or indirectly) many smooth muscles. Peptides known to belong to the tachykinin family are listed below:

  • Substance P from mammals, birds and fish.
  • Neurokinin A (substance K or neuromedin L) from mammals, birds and fish.
  • Neurokinin B (neuromedin K) from mammals and frogs.
  • Kassinin from frogs.
  • Hylambatin from frogs.
  • Phyllomedusin from a frog.
  • Physalaemin from a frog.
  • Ranamargarin from a Chinese frog.
  • Uperolein from frogs.
  • Ranatachykinins A to D from frogs [4].
  • Scyliorhinins from dogfish.
  • Carassin from goldfish [5].
  • Eledoisin from octopus.

Tachykinins, like most other active peptides, are synthesized as larger protein precursors that are enzymatically converted to their mature forms. Tachykinins are from ten to twelve residues long. We use, as a signature pattern, the last five residues of the C-terminal, which are conserved and are essential to the biological activity.


If the sequence is processed, the peptide ends with a C-terminal amidated Met while in a precursor sequence it is always followed by a Gly which subsequently provides the amide group.


Locust myotropic peptides locustatachykinin I and II [6] are distantly related to the tachykinin family but their C-terminal sequence is different (Val-Arg instead of Leu/Met-Met). Thus, they are not detected by the above pattern.

Last update:

November 1995 / Text revised.


Technical section

PROSITE method (with tools and information) covered by this documentation:

TACHYKININ, PS00267; Tachykinin family signature  (PATTERN)


1AuthorsMaggio J.E.
SourceAnnu. Rev. Neurosci. 11:13-28(1988).
PubMed ID3284438

2AuthorsHelke C.J. Krause J.E. Mantyh P.W. Couture R. Bannon M.J.
TitleDiversity in mammalian tachykinin peptidergic neurons: multiple peptides, receptors, and regulatory mechanisms.
SourceFASEB J. 4:1606-1615(1990).
PubMed ID1969374

3AuthorsAvanov A.Y.
SourceMol. Biol. (Mosk) 26:5-24(1992).

4AuthorsKozawa H. Hino J. Minamino N. Kangawa K. Matsuo H.
TitleIsolation of four novel tachykinins from frog (Rana catesbeiana) brain and intestine.
SourceBiochem. Biophys. Res. Commun. 177:588-595(1991).
PubMed ID2043143

5AuthorsConlon J.M. O'Harte F. Peter R.E. Kah O.
TitleCarassin: a tachykinin that is structurally related to neuropeptide-gamma from the brain of the goldfish.
SourceJ. Neurochem. 56:1432-1436(1991).
PubMed ID2002352

6AuthorsSchoofs L. Holman G.M. Hayes T.K. Nachman R.J. De Loof A.
TitleLocustatachykinin I and II, two novel insect neuropeptides with homology to peptides of the vertebrate tachykinin family.
SourceFEBS Lett. 261:397-401(1990).
PubMed ID2311766

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