A histochemical study of the muscles of Drosophila melanogaster

J Morphol. 1977 Aug;153(2):307-16. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1051530209.


The thoracic muscles of Drosophila melanogaster can be classified into two classes, the fibrillar and the tubular muscles, on morphological grounds. Histochemical techniques were used to characterize these two classes of muscle according to their content of various enzymes (alpha-glycerophosphate, NAD-dependent isocitrate, malate and succinate dehydrogenases, fumarase, acid phosphatase, adenosine triphosphatase and acetylcholinesterase) and of glycogen. These investigations showed that the two muslces types are histochemically very different and, further, that the morphologically similar tubular muscles are heterogeneous with respect to their enzyme content. In particular, the tergal depressor of the trochanter of the second leg, the largest of the tubular muslces, has considerably less of all the enzymes studied, with the exception of acetylcholinesterase, than all the other tubular muscles examined. The histochemical techniqes were also used to follow the changes in enzyme levels that occur during development of the indirect flight muscle fibres. All the enzymes that are present in adult flight muslces showed an increase in staining intensity throughout muscle development. Some minor differences were observed in the time of appearance and rate of increase of intensity of the different enzymes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases / metabolism
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Drosophila melanogaster / enzymology
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism*
  • Fumarate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Glycogen / metabolism
  • Histocytochemistry
  • Muscle Development
  • Muscles / enzymology
  • Muscles / metabolism*
  • Oxidoreductases / metabolism


  • Glycogen
  • Oxidoreductases
  • Acetylcholinesterase
  • Adenosine Triphosphatases
  • Fumarate Hydratase