Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 270, Issue 2, pp 229–240

The distribution of pheromone-biosynthesis-activating neuropeptide (PBAN) immunoreactivity in the central nervous system of the corn earworm moth, Helicoverpa zea

  • Timothy G. Kingan
  • Michael B. Blackburn
  • Ashok K. Raina

DOI: 10.1007/BF00328008

Cite this article as:
Kingan, T.G., Blackburn, M.B. & Raina, A.K. Cell Tissue Res (1992) 270: 229. doi:10.1007/BF00328008


Production of sex pheromone in several species of moths has been shown to be under the control of a neuropeptide termed pheromone-biosynthesis-activating neuropeptide (PBAN). We have produced an antiserum to PBAN from Helicoverpa zea (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae) and used it to investigate the distribution of immunoreactive peptide in the brain-suboesophageal ganglion complex and its associated neurohemal structures, and the segmental ganglia of the ventral nerve cord. Immunocytochemical methods reveal three clusters of cells along the ventral midline in the suboesophageal ganglion (SOG), one cluster each in the presumptive mandibular (4 cells), maxillary (12–14 cells), and labial neuromeres (4 cells). The proximal neurites of these cells are similar in their dorsal and lateral patterns of projection, indicating a serial homology among the three clusters. Members of the mandibular and maxillary clusters have axons projecting into the maxillary nerve, while two additional pairs of axons from the maxillary cluster project into the ventral nerve cord. Members of the labial cluster project to the retrocerebral complex (corpora cardiaca and cephalic aorta) via the nervus corpus cardiaci III (NCC III). The axons projecting into the ventral nerve cord appear to arborize principally in the dorsolateral region of each segmental ganglion; the terminal abdominal ganglion is distinct in containing an additional ventromedial arborization in the posterior third of the ganglion. Quantification of the extractable immunoreactive peptide in the retrocerebral complex by ELISA indicates that PBAN is gradually depleted during the scotophase, then restored to maximal levels in the photophase. Taken together, our findings provide anatomical evidence for both neurohormonal release of PBAN as well as axonal transport via the ventral nerve cord to release sites within the segmental ganglia.

Key words

Pheromone-biosynthesis-activating neuropeptide Immunocytochemistry Helicoverpa zea (Insecta) 





brain-suboesophageal ganglion complex


corpus cardiacum


phosphate-buffered saline


PBAN-like immunoreactivity


terminal abdominal ganglion


ventral nerve cord

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • Timothy G. Kingan
    • 1
  • Michael B. Blackburn
    • 2
  • Ashok K. Raina
    • 1
  1. 1.Insect Neurobiology and Hormone LaboratoryAgricultural Research Service, USDABeltsvilleUSA
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MarylandCollege ParkUSA

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