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Topographic organization and possible function of the posterior optic tubercles in the brain of the desert locust Schistocerca gregaria.

Migrating desert locusts, Schistocerca gregaria, are able to use the skylight polarization pattern for navigation. They detect polarized light with a specialized dorsal rim area in their compound eye. After multistage processing, polarization signals are transferred to the central complex, a midline-spanning brain area involved in locomotor control. Polarization-sensitive tangential neurons (TB-neurons) of the protocerebral bridge, a part of the central complex, give rise to a topographic arrangement of preferred polarization angles in the bridge, suggesting that the central complex acts as an internal sky compass. TB-neurons connect the protocerebral bridge with two adjacent brain areas, the posterior optic tubercles. To analyze the polarotopic organization of the central complex further, we investigated the number and morphologies of TB-neurons and the presence and colocalization of three neuroactive substances in these neurons. Triple immunostaining with antisera against Diploptera punctata allatostatin (Dip-AST), Manduca sexta allatotropin (Mas-AT), and serotonin (5HT) raised in the same host species revealed three spatially distinct TB-neuron clusters, each consisting of 10 neurons per hemisphere: cluster 1 and 3 showed Dip-AST/5HT immunostaining, whereas cluster 2 showed Dip-AST/Mas-AT immunostaining. Five subtypes of TB-neuron could be distinguished based on ramification patterns. Corresponding to ramification domains in the protocerebral bridge, the neurons invaded distinct but overlapping layers within the posterior optic tubercle. Similarly, neurons interconnecting the tubercles of the two hemispheres also targeted distinct layers of these neuropils. From these data we propose a neuronal circuit that may be suited to stabilize the internal sky compass in the central complex of the locust.

Pubmed ID: 25557150 RIS Download

Mesh terms: Animals | Biotin | Brain | Fluorescent Antibody Technique | Grasshoppers | Imaging, Three-Dimensional | Insect Hormones | Microelectrodes | Microscopy, Confocal | Neurons | Neuropeptides | Serotonin | Visual Pathways | Visual Perception

Antibody Registry (Reagent, Antibodies)

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