During insect metamorphosis, the nervous system must be reorganized to allow the production of unique behaviors during each life stage. In the hawkmoth, Manduca sexta, it has been possible to follow this postembryonic phase of neuronal development at the level of identified neurons. Of particular interest in the present context are sensory neurons, motoneurons, and interneurons which persist through metamorphosis, but participate in different types of behavior at different stages of life. Many of these neurons undergo striking changes in their dendritic arborizations and axonal projection patterns, which can be correlated with changes in their synaptic interactions with other neurons. Manipulations of the ecdysteroid and juvenile hormone titers, both in vivo and in vitro, implicate these hormones in the regulation of metamorphic changes within the nervous system. Taking advantage of this endocrine control, it has been possible to create heterochronic mosaic animals that allow the relationship between specific cellular changes and behavioral alterations to be tested directly.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience