A novel wide-field neuron with branches in the lamina of the Drosophila visual system expresses myoinhibitory peptide and may be associated with the clock
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Although neuropeptides are widespread throughout the central nervous system of the fruifly Drosophila, no records exist of peptidergic neurons in the first synaptic region of the visual system, the lamina. Here, we describe a novel type of neuron that has wide-field tangential arborizations just distal to the lamina neuropil and that expresses myoinhibitory peptide (MIP). The cell bodies of these neurons, designated lateral MIP-immunoreactive optic lobe (LMIo) neurons, lie anteriorly at the base of the medulla of the optic lobe. The LMIo neurons also arborize in several layers of the medulla and in the dorso-lateral and lateral protocerebrum. Since the LMIo resemble LNv clock neurons, we have investigated the relationships between these two sets of neurons by combining MIP-immunolabeling with markers for two of the clock genes, viz., Cryptochrome and Timeless, or with antisera to two peptides expressed in clock neurons, viz., pigment-dispersing factor and ion transport peptide. LMIo neurons do not co-express any of these clock neuron markers. However, branches of LMIo and clock neurons overlap in several regions. Furthermore, the varicose lamina branches of LMIo neurons superimpose those of two large bilateral serotonergic neurons. The close apposition of the terminations of MIP- and serotonin-producing neurons distal to the lamina suggests that they have the same peripheral targets. Our data indicate that the LMIo neurons are not bona fide clock neurons, but they may be associated with the clock system and regulate signaling peripherally in the visual system.
KeywordsNeuropeptide Allatostatin B Serotonin Biological clock Optic lobe Insect brain Drososphila melanogaster (Insecta)
We thank Dr. Lily Kahsai for her important participation in initial experiments on MIP neurons in the visual system. The individuals and organizations listed in the Materials and methods are gratefully acknowledged for supplying fly strains and reagents.
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