The sensory neurons of the Manduca wing form a planar network nestled between the wing's upper and lower monolayers. The pioneering axons of this network grow in a distal‐to‐proximal direction over the basal surface of the upper epithelial monolayer. The basal surface of this monolayer has been examined ultrastructurally during the period of axonal outgrowth. The cellular terrain traversed by axons shows a graded distribution of epithelial processes, with the number of processes increasing in a proximal direction. Growth cones of axons, therefore, encounter increasing surface areas for contact with their substratum as they move toward the base of the wing. Because a basal lamina is laid down over these epithelial processes after axons have pioneered the neural pathways of the wing, axonal guidance cues apparently lie on surfaces of these basal processes. At branch points of the neural pathway examined in this study, axons avoid pathways in which the basal surfaces of cells in the upper wing monolayer interdigitate with basal surfaces of underlying tracheal cells. This interaction between wing epithelial cells and tracheal epithelial cells could act as a physical barrier to axonal outgrowth.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience