Although many similarities in arthropod central nervous systems (CNS) development exist, differences in midline cell formation and ventral nerve cord axonogenesis have been noted in arthropods. It is possible that changes in the expression of axon guidance molecules such as Netrin, which functions during commissural axon guidance in Drosophila and many other organisms, may parallel these differences. In this investigation, we analyze this hypothesis by examining Netrin accumulation during development of the brine shrimp Artemia franciscana, a branchiopod crustacean. An Artemia franciscana netrin (afrnet) orthologue was cloned. An antibody to the afrNet protein was generated and used to examine the pattern of afrNet accumulation during Artemia development. Despite differences between Drosophila and Artemia nerve cord development, examination of afrNet accumulation suggests that this protein functions to regulate commissure formation during Artemia CNS development. However, detection of afrNet at the midline and on commissural axons occurs at a relatively later time point in Artemia as compared with Drosophila. Detection of afrNet in a subset of midline cells that closely resemble Netrin-expressing cells at the Drosophila midline provides evidence for homology of midline cells in arthropods. Expression of Netrins in many other tissues is comparable, suggesting that Netrin proteins may play many conserved roles during arthropod development.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Developmental Biology