Analysis of molecular marker expression reveals neuronal homology in distantly related arthropods

Molly Duman-Scheel, Nipam H. Patel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

99 Scopus citations


Morphological studies suggest that insects and crustaceans of the Class Malacostraca (such as crayfish) share a set of homologous neurons. However, expression of molecular markers in these neurons has not been investigated, and the homology of insect and malacostracan neuroblasts, the neural stem cells that produce these neurons, has been questioned. Furthermore, it is not known whether crustaceans of the Class Branchiopoda (such as brine shrimp) or arthropods of the Order Collembola (springtails) possess neurons that are homologous to those of other arthropods. Assaying expression of molecular markers in the developing nervous systems of various arthropods could resolve some of these issues. Here, we examine expression of Even-skipped and Engrailed, two transcription factors that serve as insect embryonic CNS markers, across a number of arthropod species. This molecular analysis allows us to verify the homology of previously identified malacostracan neurons and to identify additional homologous neurons in malacostracans, collembolans and branchiopods. Engrailed expression in the neural stem cells of a number of crustaceans was also found to he conserved. We conclude that despite their distant phylogenetic relationships and divergent mechanisms of neurogenesis, insects, malacostracans, branchiopods and collembolans share many common CNS components.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2327-2334
Number of pages8
Issue number11
StatePublished - Jul 8 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Arthropod
  • Engrailed
  • Even-skipped
  • Homology
  • Neuroblast
  • Neurogenesis
  • Neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Developmental Biology

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Analysis of molecular marker expression reveals neuronal homology in distantly related arthropods'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this