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Boyan, George; Williams, J. L. D.; Herbert, Z. (2008): Fascicle switching generates a chiasmal neuroarchitecture in the embryonic central body of the grasshopper Schistocerca gregaria. In: Arthropod Structure & Development, Vol. 37, No. 6: pp. 539-544
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The central body is a prominent neuropilar structure in the midbrain of the grasshopper and is characterized by a fan-shaped array of fiber columns, which are part of a chiasmal system linking anterior and posterior commissures. These columns are established during embryogenesis and comprise axons from cell clusters in the Pars intercerebralis, which project to the central body via the so-called w, x, y, z tracts. Up to mid-embryogenesis the primary axon scaffold in both the brain and ventral nerve cord comprises a simple orthogonal arrangement of commissural and longitudinal fiber pathways. No chiasmata are present and this pattern is maintained during subsequent development of the ventral nerve cord. In the midbrain, individual axons entering the commissural system from each of the w, x, y, z tracts after mid-embryogenesis (55%) are seen to systematically de-fasciculate from an anterior commissure and re-fasciculate with another more posterior commissure en route across the midline, a feature we call "fascicle switching". Since the w, x, y, z tracts are bilaterally symmetrical, fascicle switching generates chiasmata at stereotypic locations across the midbrain. Choice points for eaving and entering fascicles mark the anterior and posterior positions of each future column. As the midbrain neuropil expands, the anterior and posterior groups of commissures condense, so that the chiasmata spanning the widening gap between them become progressively more orthogonally oriented. A columnar neuroarchitecture resembling that of the adult central body is already apparent at 70% of embryogenesis. (C) 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.