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Dev Genes Evol. 2008 May;218(5):253-65. doi: 10.1007/s00427-008-0216-1. Epub 2008 Apr 29.

Muscle precursor cells in the developing limbs of two isopods (Crustacea, Peracarida): an immunohistochemical study using a novel monoclonal antibody against myosin heavy chain.

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  • 1Universität Konstanz, Fakultät für Biologie, Neurobiologie, 78434 Konstanz, Germany.


In the hot debate on arthropod relationships, Crustaceans and the morphology of their appendages play a pivotal role. To gain new insights into how arthropod appendages evolved, developmental biologists recently have begun to examine the expression and function of Drosophila appendage genes in Crustaceans. However, cellular aspects of Crustacean limb development such as myogenesis are poorly understood in Crustaceans so that the interpretative context in which to analyse gene functions is still fragmentary. The goal of the present project was to analyse muscle development in Crustacean appendages, and to that end, monoclonal antibodies against arthropod muscle proteins were generated. One of these antibodies recognises certain isoforms of myosin heavy chain and strongly binds to muscle precursor cells in malacostracan Crustacea. We used this antibody to study myogenesis in two isopods, Porcellio scaber and Idotea balthica (Crustacea, Malacostraca, Peracarida), by immunohistochemistry. In these animals, muscles in the limbs originate from single muscle precursor cells, which subsequently grow to form multinucleated muscle precursors. The pattern of primordial muscles in the thoracic limbs was mapped, and results compared to muscle development in other Crustaceans and in insects.

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