09 December 2008

Fabritius-Vilpoux and colleagues, 2008

Invertebrate NeuroscienceFabritius-Vilpoux K, Bisch-Knaden S & Harzsch S. Engrailed-like immunoreactivity in the embryonic ventral nerve cord of the Marbled Crayfish (Marmorkrebs). Invertebrate Neuroscience 8(4): 177-197.


The homeobox transcription factor Engrailed is involved in controlling segmentation during arthropod germ band formation but also in establishing individual neuronal identities during later embryogenesis. In Crustacea, most studies analysing the expression of Engrailed so far have focussed on its function as segment polarity gene. In continuation to these previous studies, we analysed the neuronal expression of the Engrailed protein by immunohistochemistry in the embryonic nerve cord of a parthenogenetic crustacean, the Marbled Crayfish (Marmorkrebs). We paid particular attention to the individual identification of Engrailed expressing putative neuroblasts in the crayfish embryos. Engrailed positive cells in the neuroectoderm were counted, measured and mapped from 38 to 65% of embryonic development. That way, several Engrailed positive putative neuroblasts and putative neurons were identified. Our findings are compared with earlier studies on Engrailed expression during germ band formation in Crustacea. Recent data on neurogenesis in an amphipod crustacean have provided compelling evidence for the homology of several identified neuroblasts between this amphipod and insects. The present report may serve as a basis to explore the question if during crustacean neurogenesis additional communalities with insects exist.

Keywords: neurogenesis • neuroblasts • ventral nerve cord • neurophylogeny • evolution • Arthropoda • Tetraconata • Crustacea

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