During the initial phase of metamorphosis in the hawkmoth, Manduca sexta, persistent mechanosensory neurons expand their terminal arborizations within the CNS and evoke a reflex response in the pupa which is different than in the larva. In an effort to determine the contribution of sensory neuron modifications to the difference in reflex responses, manipulations of juvenile hormone and 20‐hydroxyecdysone were used to generate mosaic animals in which the sensory neurons were advanced or delayed developmentally with respect to the rest of the animal, including circuit components within the CNS. In the larval stage electrical stimulation of the sensory axons evokes a slow depolarization and a prolonged burst of action potentials in the ipsilateral intersegmental muscle motor neurons. By contrast, in pupal preparations the same motor neurons respond to an identical stimulus with a larger, more rapid depolarization which leads to a relatively brief, high‐frequency burst of action potentials. Motor responses on the contralateral side of the body are also altered during pupal development. In mosaic animals where larval‐like sensory neurons interact with a pupal CNS, a larval reflex response is generated. In the converse situation, pupal‐like sensory neurons interacting with a larval or prepupal CNS evoke a motor response that is typical of larvae or prepupae. We conclude, therefore, that pupal development of the sensory neurons is necessary, but not sufficient, for the production of the pupal reflex.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience