Tracheole migration in an insect wing - Evidence for guidance by epithelial processes

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Insect tissues are supplied with oxygen by a system of long and highly branched cuticular tubes known as tracheae and tracheoles. During the growth of with imaginal discs in moths and butterflies, tracheole cells migrate distally from the base of the disc. Tracheoles radiate in a distal direction through the extracellular space sandwiched between the upper and lower epithelial surfaces of the wing. Migration of most cells is assumed to be governed by forces intrinsic to the cell. However, the movement of tracheoles is apparently a passive process whose motive force resides in adjacent epithelial cells. After epithelial cells are exposed to ecdysteroid hormones, these cells extend basal processes that are attracted to oxygen-rich tracheoles. By applying traction to the tracheoles with which they establish intimate contact, epithelial cells may control the pattern of their distribution within wing tissue.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
JournalWilhelm Roux's Archives of Developmental Biology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1984


  • Epithelial process
  • Insect wing
  • Tracheole migration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Biology


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