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Dev Biol. 1983 Mar;96(1):89-102.

Embryogenesis of peripheral nerve pathways in grasshopper legs. I. The initial nerve pathway to the CNS.


The founding of the first nerve path of the grasshopper metathoracic leg was examined at the level of identified neurons, using intracellular dye fills, immunohistochemistry, Nomarski optics, and scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The embryonic nerve is established by the axonal trajectory of a pair of afferent pioneer neurons, the tibial 1 (Ti1) cells. Following a period of profuse filopodial sprouting, the Ti1 axonal growth cones, possessing 75- to 100-microns-long filopodia, navigate a stereotyped path across the limb bud epithelium to the base of the appendage and into the CNS. The Ti1 axons grow from cell to cell along a chain of preaxonogenesis neurons spaced at intervals along the pathway, forming dye-passing junctions with them. The contacted neurons subsequently undergo axonogenesis and follow the pioneer axons into the CNS. Later arising neurons project their axons onto the cell bodies of the chain, thereby establishing the principal branch points of the nerve. Among the later arising afferents are the sensory neurons of the femoral chordotonal and subgenual organs. The morphology of the adult nerve appears to be determined by the stereotyped positioning of neurons in the differentiating limb bud and by the resultant axonal trajectories established during the first 10% of peripheral neurogenesis.

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