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J Neurobiol. 1997 May;32(5):517-29.

Circadian rhythms in screening pigment and invaginating organelles in photoreceptor terminals of the housefly's first optic neuropile.

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Zoological Museum, Jagiellonian University, Kraków, Poland.


Screening pigment granules occur in the synaptic terminals of photoreceptors in the fly's (Musca domestica, L.) compound eye. The granules resemble ommochrome granules in the overlying photoreceptor cell body. There are also two types of invagination into receptor terminals: capitate projections (from glial cells) and invaginations from neighboring receptor terminals. The number of profiles of these organelles in the first optic neuropile, the lamina, have been counted using single-section quantitative electron microscopic methods. Pigment granules are concentrated proximally in the terminal, toward the brain. The numbers change, increasing during the night (1 h after lights off) up to values more than twice the number 1 h after lights on, apparently by longitudinal migration of granules from the cell body into the terminal. Files entrained to day/night conditions and then held under constant darkness continue to exhibit changes in the numbers of profiles. Even though overall there were 80-90% fewer granule profiles than under day/night conditions, the numbers attained a peak many times higher at the end of the subjective day. Thus, the changes are endogenous, showing circadian rhythmicity. Although their significance is unknown, these changes parallel previously described circadian rhythms in the receptor terminals and their lamina monopolar-cell targets. The invaginations from receptor terminals were more numerous under day/night conditions than under constant darkness, and cycled in constant darkness, peaking at the end of subjective night. Capitate projections, by contrast, failed to change significantly under the experimental conditions analyzed, a lack of responsiveness they share with photoreceptor tetrad synapses.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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