Neuronal determination during embryonic development of the grasshopper nervous system

Dev Biol. 1985 Jul;110(1):114-26. doi: 10.1016/0012-1606(85)90069-7.


We have examined the roles of cell lineage and interactions in the determination of individual identified neurons in the grasshopper embryo by selective ablations of individual cells and/or their neighbors at successive stages following their birth. The neurons in the grasshopper central nervous system (CNS) are produced by two types of identifiable neuronal precursor cells: neuroblasts (NBs), which generate most of the neurons, and midline precursors (MPs), which generate only a few. NBs divide asymmetrically in a stem cell fashion to generate a chain of ganglion mother cells (GMCs) which then divide once more symmetrically to produce pairs of sibling neurons: MPs cleave once to generate a single pair of sibling neurons. We analyzed the determination of (1) the pair of sibling progeny produced by midline precursor 3 (MP3) and the determination of (2) the pair of sibling progeny produced by the first GMC from neuroblast 1-1 (NB 1-1); in each case the siblings normally differentiate into morphologically distinct neurons. Our results indicate that both pairs of neuronal progeny (1) are born equivalent, (2) become determined by cell interactions early in their development before axonogenesis, and (3) demonstrate a hierarchy of fates with one fate dominant over the other. These results suggest a common pattern of neuronal determination in the grasshopper and possibly all insect embryos.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Grasshoppers / embryology*
  • Horseradish Peroxidase / metabolism
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Nervous System / embryology*
  • Neurons / cytology*


  • Horseradish Peroxidase