Remodeling of the abdominal epithelial monolayer during the larva-pupa-adult transformation of Manduca

James B. Nardi, Charles Mark Bee, Catherine Lee Wallace

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


During metamorphosis of insect epithelial monolayers, cells die, divide, and rearrange. In Drosophila undifferentiated diploid cells destined to form the adult cuticle of each abdominal segment segregate early in development from the surrounding polyploid larval epithelial cells of that segment as eight groups of diploid histoblast cells. The larval polyploid cells are programmed to die and be replaced by divisions and rearrangements of histoblast cells. By contrast, abdominal epithelial cells of Manduca larvae form a monolayer of cells representing different ploidy levels with no definitive segregation of diploid cells destined to form adult structures. These epithelial cells of mixed ploidy levels produce a thick smooth larval cuticle with sparsely distributed sensory bristles. Adult descendants of this larval monolayer produce a thinner cuticle with densely packed scale cells. The transition between these differentiated states of Manduca involves divisions of cells, changes in ploidy levels, and sorting of certain polyploid cells into circular rosette patches to minimize contacts of these polyploid cells with surrounding cells of equal or smaller size. Cells within the rosettes and some surrounding cells are destined to die and be replaced by remaining epithelial cells of uniform size and ploidy at pupa-adult apolysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)10-22
Number of pages13
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jun 1 2018


  • Cell affinities
  • Cell death
  • Cell rearrangement
  • Epithelial monolayer
  • Pattern formation
  • Remodeling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology
  • Cell Biology


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