Neurokinin B
Neurokinin B is a tachykinin peptide
Peptides are short polymers of amino acid monomers linked by peptide bonds. They are distinguished from proteins on the basis of size, typically containing less than 50 monomer units. The shortest peptides are dipeptides, consisting of two amino acids joined by a single peptide bond...


It is found in higher concentration in pregnant women suffering pre-eclampsia
Pre-eclampsia or preeclampsia is a medical condition in which hypertension arises in pregnancy in association with significant amounts of protein in the urine....

 and can bind the immune-cloaking molecule phosphocholine
Phosphocholine is an intermediate in the synthesis of phosphatidylcholine in tissues. Phosphocholine is made in a reaction, catalyzed by choline kinase, that converts ATP + Choline into Phosphocholine and ADP...


In December 2008, it was discovered that the hormone Neurokinin B and its receptor, neurokinin 3 receptor
Tachykinin receptor 3
Tachykinin receptor 3, also known as TACR3, is a protein which in humans is encoded by the TACR3 gene.- Function :This gene belongs to a family of genes that function as receptors for tachykinins. Receptor affinities are specified by variations in the 5'-end of the sequence...

, are critical parts of the control system that switches on the master regulator of human puberty
Puberty is the process of physical changes by which a child's body matures into an adult body capable of reproduction, as initiated by hormonal signals from the brain to the gonads; the ovaries in a girl, the testes in a boy...

, governed by the brain
The brain is the center of the nervous system in all vertebrate and most invertebrate animals—only a few primitive invertebrates such as sponges, jellyfish, sea squirts and starfishes do not have one. It is located in the head, usually close to primary sensory apparatus such as vision, hearing,...

 through the release of the hormone GnRH (gonadotropin
Gonadotropins are protein hormones secreted by gonadotrope cells of the pituitary gland of vertebrates. This is a family of proteins, which include the mammalian hormones follitropin , lutropin , placental chorionic gonadotropins hCG and eCG and chorionic gonadotropin , as well as at least two...

 releasing hormone) which starts a series of processes that ultimately leads to the production of sex hormones. Although Neurokinin B was previously known to be present in the same hypothalamic
The Hypothalamus is a portion of the brain that contains a number of small nuclei with a variety of functions...

A neuron is an electrically excitable cell that processes and transmits information by electrical and chemical signaling. Chemical signaling occurs via synapses, specialized connections with other cells. Neurons connect to each other to form networks. Neurons are the core components of the nervous...

s as kisspeptin
Kisspeptin , the product of the gene , is a G-protein coupled receptor ligand for GPR54. Kiss1 was originally identified as a human metastasis suppressor gene that has the ability to suppress melanoma and breast cancer metastasis...

, another important part of the same control system for puberty, its key role was not previously appreciated.
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