Presynaptic function during muscle remodeling in insect metamorphosis

Christos Consoulas, Richard B. Levine

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


During metamorphosis the leg neuromuscular system of the moth Manduca sexta undergoes an extensive remodeling as the larval muscles degenerate and are replaced by new muscles in the adult. The terminal processes of persistent leg motoneurons undergo severe regression followed by regrowth (Consoulas et al., 1996), accompanied, as shown here, by the loss and re- establishment of functional presynaptic specializations. Before and shortly after the degeneration of the larval muscle, immunoreactivity for the Vesicular protein synaptotagmin was localized to the presynaptic varicosities of the motoneurons. Similarly localized were distinct sites of Ca2+dependent uptake of the fluorescent dye FM1-43. During myoblast migration and accumulation about the re-expanding motor axons, synaptotagmin immunoreactivity was widely distributed in axons, and specific FM1-43 staining revealed vesicle exocytosis in distal axon branches. During myoblast proliferation and fusion, and myotube formation, synaptotagmin staining remained widely distributed in nerve branches, whereas FM1-43 staining was more localized to subdomains of these nerve branches. These initial presynaptic active sites were transient and were replaced by new sites in more distal nerve processes as the muscle anlage increased in size and additional myotubes formed. After myotube separation, synaptotagmin staining disappeared from primary branches but remained distributed within secondary and high-order nerve branches. FM1-43 staining was detected in high-order branches only. During muscle fiber striation, growth, and maturation, both FM1-43 staining and synaptotagmin immunoreactivity became localized to terminal varicosities. Thus, presynaptic function can persist after the loss of the target and occurs transiently in axon shafts before becoming restricted to terminal domains as the underlying muscle fibers mature.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5817-5831
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number15
StatePublished - Aug 1 1998


  • FM1- 43
  • Insect
  • Motor terminals
  • Neuromuscular junctions
  • Presynaptic
  • Synaptotagmin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Presynaptic function during muscle remodeling in insect metamorphosis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this