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Boyan, George; Niederleitner, Bertram (2011): Patterns of dye coupling involving serotonergic neurons provide insights into the cellular organization of a central complex lineage of the embryonic grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria. In: Development Genes and Evolution, Vol. 220, No. 11-12: pp. 297-313
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All eight neuroblasts from the pars intercerebralis of one protocerebral hemisphere whose progeny contribute fibers to the central complex in the embryonic brain of the grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria generate serotonergic cells at stereotypic locations in their lineages. The pattern of dye coupling involving these neuroblasts and their progeny was investigated during embryogenesis by injecting fluorescent dye intracellularly into the neuroblast and/or its progeny in brain slices. The tissue was then processed for anti-serotonin immunohistochemistry. A representative lineage, that of neuroblast 1-3, was selected for detailed study. Stereotypic patterns of dye coupling were observed between progeny of the lineage throughout embryogenesis. Dye injected into the soma of a serotonergic cell consistently spread to a cluster of between five and eight neighboring non-serotonergic cells, but never to other serotonergic cells. Dye injected into a non-serotonergic cell from such a cluster spread to other non-serotonergic cells of the cluster, and to the immediate serotonergic cell, but never to further serotonergic cells. Serotonergic cells tested from different locations within the lineage repeat this pattern of dye coupling. All dye coupling was blocked on addition of an established gap junctional blocker (n-heptanol) to the bathing medium. The lack of coupling among serotonergic cells in the lineage suggests that each, along with its associated cluster of dye-coupled non-serotonergic cells, represents an independent communicating pathway (labeled line) to the developing central complex neuropil. The serotonergic cell may function as the coordinating element in such a projection system.