The eclosion of the adult Manduca sexta moth is followed by a wave of cell death that eliminates up to 50% of the neurons of the central nervous system within the first few days of imaginal life. While the identity of some of the dying motoneurons has been established, that of most doomed neurons is unknown. Here, we show that the dying cells include peptidergic neurons involved in the control of ecdysis behavior. These cells belong to a small population of 50 neurons that express crustacean cardioactive peptide (CCAP), a potent regulator of the ecdysis motor program, and show increases in cyclic 3',5'guanosine monophosphate at each ecdysis. First, we describe new markers for these neurons and show that they are expressed in these CCAP- immunoreactive neurons in a complex temporal pattern during development. We then show that these neurons die within 36 h after adult eclosion, the last performance of ecdysis behavior in the life of the animal, via the active, genetically determined process of programmed cell death. The death of these neurons supports the hypothesis that outmoded or unused neurons are actively eliminated.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||16|
|Journal||Journal of Neurobiology|
|State||Published - Nov 5 1998|
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