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Microsc Res Tech. 1992 Sep 1;22(4):336-50.

Experimental morphology of insect olfaction: tracer studies, X-ray microanalysis, autoradiography, and immunocytochemistry with silkmoth antennae.

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Max-Planck-Institut für Verhaltensphysiologie, Seewiesen, Germany.


The general morphology and methodological peculiarities of insect sensilla are briefly reviewed. The stimulus conducting pore-tubule systems of pheromone-sensitive sensilla of the silkmoths Bombyx mori and Antheraea polyphemus are described. Lipophilic tracers readily enter the hair lumen, while hydrophilic tracers do so only after prolonged extraction with lipid solvents and/or pronase. X-ray microanalysis demonstrates a high potassium content of the sensillum lymph; calcium was only found in the haemolymph above detection limit. Auxiliary cells rapidly take up radioactive leucine administered via the haemolymph. Antibodies against pheromone-binding protein of Antheraea polyphemus label the sensillum lymph of sensilla trichodea, but not of sensilla basiconica in A. polyphemus as well as in B. mori. The cytoplasm of auxiliary cells of the sensilla trichodea is also labelled. The results are discussed in context with present hypotheses on the role of sensillum lymph in stimulus transport and inactivation.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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