Identification of the cellular target for eclosion hormone in the abdominal transverse nerves of the tobacco hornworm, Manduca sexta

Sharon Hesterlee, David B. Morton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The isolated abdominal central nervous system of Manduca sexta undergoes an increase in cyclic GMP (cGMP) when exposed to the insect peptide eclosion hormone (EH) before pupal ecdysis. Previously, cGMP immunocytochemistry revealed that the EH-stimulated increase in cGMP was contained in numerous filamentous processes within the transverse nerve associated with each abdominal ganglion. These processes seemed to be the axons of neurosecretory cells projecting to this neurohemal organ. In the present paper, we now show that the EH-stimulated cGMP is not present in neurosecretory terminals. There is no colocalization of the EH-stimulated cGMP with immunoreactivity of two peptides, known to be present in axons in the transverse nerves. Furthermore, there is no colocalization of EH-stimulated cGMP with the synaptic vesicle protein, synaptotagmin. The neurosecretory axons are localized to a narrow band at the anterior margin of the transverse nerve, whereas the cellular elements showing an EH-stimulated cGMP increase are primarily present in the posterior region. There are two cell types in this region: a granular and a nongranular type. The cGMP immunoreactivity seems to be contained within the nongranular type. During adult development, the cells of the posterior compartment spread in a thin layer between the transverse and dorsal nerves, become positive for myosin immunoreactivity between pupal stages 5 and 8, and seem to form the adult ventral diaphragm muscles. We conclude that the EH-sensitive filaments in the transverse nerves of Manduca are most likely to be intrinsic cells that subsequently develop into the ventral diaphragm muscles of the adult. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)339-355
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 21 2000


  • Cyclic GMP
  • Ecdysis
  • Metamorphosis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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