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Boyan, George; Graf, Philip; Ehrhardt, Erica (2018): Patterns of cell death in the embryonic antenna of the grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria. In: Development Genes and Evolution, Vol. 228, No. 2: pp. 105-118
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We have investigated the pattern of apoptosis in the antennal epithelium during embryonic development of the grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria. The molecular labels lachesin and annulin reveal that the antennal epithelium becomes subdivided into segment-like meristal annuli within which sensory cell clusters later differentiate. To determine whether apoptosis is involved in the development of such sensory cell clusters, we examined the expression pattern of the cell death labels acridine orange and TUNEL in the epithelium. We found stereotypic, age-dependent, wave-like patterns of cell death in the antenna. Early in embryogenesis, apoptosis is restricted to the most basal meristal annuli but subsequently spreads to encompass almost the entire antenna. Cell death then declines in more basal annuli and is only found in the tip region later in embryogenesis. Apoptosis is restricted throughout to the midregion of a given annulus and away from its border with neighboring annuli, arguing against a causal role in annular formation. Double-labeling for cell death and sensory cell differentiation reveals apoptosis occurring within bands of differentiating sensory cell clusters, matching the meristal organization of the apical antenna. Examination of the individual epithelial lineages which generate sensory cells reveals that apoptosis begins peripherally within a lineage and with age expands to encompass the differentiated sensory cell at the base. We conclude that complete lineages can undergo apoptosis and that the youngest cells in these lineages appear to die first, with the sensory neuron dying last. Lineage-based death in combination with cell death patterns in different regions of the antenna may contribute to odor-mediated behaviors in the grasshopper.