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Embryonic development of the sensory innervation of the antenna of the grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria

Arthropod Struct Dev 33(4): 381-97

Authors/Editors: Boyan GS
Williams JL
Publication Date: 2004
Type of Publication: Journal Articles 2001 - 2018
The establishment of the sensory nervous system of the antenna of the grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria was examined using immunocytochemical methods and in the light of the appendicular and articulated nature of this structure. The former is demonstrated first by the expression pattern of the segment polarity gene engrailed in the head neuromere innervating the antenna, the deutocerebrum. Engrailed expression is present in identified deutocerebral neuroblasts and, as elsewhere in the body, is continuous with cells of the posterior epithelium of the associated appendage, in this case the antenna. Second, early expression of the glial homeobox gene reversed polarity (repo) in the antenna is by a stereotypic pair of cells at the antenna base, a pattern we show is repeated metamerically for each thoracic appendage of the embryo. Subsequently, three regions of Repo expression (A1, A2, A3) are seen within the antenna, and may represent a preliminary form of articulation. Bromodeoxyuridine incorporation reveals that these regions are sites of intense cell differentiation. Neuron-specific horseradish peroxidase and Lazarillo expression confirm that the pioneers of the ventral and dorsal tracts of the antennal sensory nervous system are amongst these differentiating cells. Sets of pioneers appear simultaneously in several bands and project confluent axons towards the antennal base. We conclude that the sensory nervous system of the antenna is not pioneered from the tip of the antenna alone, but in a stepwise manner by cells from several zones. The early sensory nervous systems of antenna, maxilla and leg therefore follow a similar developmental program consistent with their serially homologous nature.

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