Origin of myoblasts involved in the formation of the flight muscles of a butterfly (Pieris brassicae)

Tissue Cell. 1986;18(5):725-39. doi: 10.1016/0040-8166(86)90073-x.


The larval muscle precursors of the dorsal longitudinal flight muscles of Pieris brassicae were examined by electron microscopy at five developmental stages of the fifth larval instar. At the beginning of this instar, a large neuromuscular area (NMA) was observed along the larval muscle precursors, on the side of the muscle where the nerve comes into contact with it. This area was delimited by the basement membrane of the muscle and by a thicker external basal lamina and contained nerve branches, tracheae, neuromuscular endings and cells with a cytoplasm rich is free ribosomes. Cells similar to the ribosome rich cells of the NMA were located along the motor nerves supplying the larval muscle precursors in a compartment joined to the NMA. From 78 hr after the fourth moult onwards, the ribosome-rich cells increased in number, accumulated inside the NMA and in the space around the nerves. Then they penetrated the muscle fibre via the channels of the transverse system. These cells were the myoblasts that later help to form the flight muscles. As regards their earlier origin, they do not seem to derive from cells formed from larval fibre nuclei, but might be present together with the muscle precursors, and along the nerves from the beginning of larval development. The differences with the Nematoceran Diptera are discussed.