Nitric oxide and cGMP influence axonogenesis of antennal pioneer neurons

C Seidel, G Bicker
2000 Development  
The grasshopper embryo has been used as a convenient system with which to investigate mechanisms of axonal navigation and pathway formation at the level of individual nerve cells. Here, we focus on the developing antenna of the grasshopper embryo (Schistocerca gregaria) where two siblings of pioneer neurons establish the first two axonal pathways to the CNS. Using immunocytochemistry we detected nitric oxide (NO)-induced synthesis of cGMP in the pioneer neurons of the embryonic antenna. A
more » ... ic antenna. A potential source of NO are NADPH-diaphorase-stained epithelial cells close to the basal lamina. To investigate the role of the NO/cGMP signaling system during pathfinding, we examined the pattern of outgrowing pioneer neurons in embryo culture. Pharmacological inhibition of soluble guanylyl cyclase (sGC) and of NO synthase (NOS) resulted in an abnormal pattern of pathway formation in the antenna. Axonogenesis of both pairs of pioneers was inhibited when specific NOS or sGC inhibitors were added to the culture medium; the observed effects include the loss axon emergence as well as retardation of outgrowth, such that growth cones do not reach the CNS. The addition of membrane-permeant cGMP or a direct activator of the sGC enzyme to the culture medium completely rescued the phenotype resulting from the block of NO/cGMP signaling. These results indicate that NO/cGMP signaling is involved in axonal elongation of pioneer neurons in the antenna of the grasshopper.
pmid:11023858 fatcat:h4int3vrpzandg7pdmnvbl4u24