Comparative, three-dimensional anterior sensory reconstruction of Aphelenchus avenae (nematoda: Tylenchomorpha)

J Comp Neurol. 2009 Dec 10;517(5):616-32. doi: 10.1002/cne.22170.


The anterior sensory anatomy (not including amphids) of the nematode Aphelenchus avenae (Tylenchomorpha) has been three-dimensionally reconstructed from serial, transmission electron microscopy thin sections. Models, showing detailed morphology and spatial relationships of cuticular sensilla and internal sensory receptors, are the first computerized reconstruction of sensory structures of a Tylenchomorpha nematode. Results are analyzed with respect to similarly detailed reconstructions of Rhabditida outgroup nematodes, Acrobeles complexus (Cephalobomorpha) and Caenorhabditis elegans (Rhabditomorpha). Homologies identified in A. avenae demonstrate the general conservation of the anterior sensory system between freeliving nematodes and the largely plant parasitic Tylenchomorpha. A higher degree of similarity is shown between A. avenae and A. complexus, with common features including: the presence of a second, internal outer labial dendrite (OL1); a second cephalic dendrite in the female (CEP2/CEM); an accessory process loop of inner labial dendrite 1; and terminus morphology and epidermal associations of internal sensory receptors BAG and URX. Unique to A. avenae is a pair of peripheral, lateral neurons of unknown homology but with axial positions and intercellular relationships nearly identical to the "posterior branches" of URX in A. complexus. Knowledge of homologies and connectivity of anterior sensory structures provides a basis for expansion of the experimental behavioral model of C. elegans to the economically important nematodes of Tylenchomorpha.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Anatomy, Comparative
  • Anatomy, Cross-Sectional
  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Female
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Nervous System / ultrastructure*
  • Sense Organs / ultrastructure*
  • Sensory Receptor Cells / ultrastructure*
  • Tylenchida / anatomy & histology*
  • Tylenchida / physiology
  • Tylenchida / ultrastructure