Vasopressin/oxytocin (VP/OT)-related peptides are essential for mammalian antidiuresis, sociosexual behavior, and reproduction. However, the evolutionary origin of this peptide system is still uncertain. Here, we identify orthologous genes to those for VP/OT in Platyhelminthes, intertidal planarians that have a simple bilaterian body structure but lack a coelom and body-fluid circulatory system. We report a comprehensive characterization of the neuropeptide derived from this VP/OT-type gene, identifying its functional receptor, and name it the "platytocin"system. Our experiments with these euryhaline planarians, living where environmental salinities fluctuate due to evaporation and rainfall, suggest that platytocin functions as an "antidiuretic hormone"and also organizes diverse actions including reproduction and chemosensory-associated behavior. We propose that bilaterians acquired physiological adaptations to amphibious lives by such regulation of the body fluids. This neuropeptide-secreting system clearly became indispensable for life even without the development of a vascular circulatory system or relevant synapses.
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