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Hematopoietic organs of Manduca sexta and hemocyte lineages


Cells of the moth immune system are derived from organs that loosely envelop the four wing imaginal discs. The immune response in these insects is believed to depend on the activities of two main classes of hemocytes: plasmatocytes and granular cells. The fates of cells that arise from these hematopoietic organs have been followed by immunolabeling with plasmatocyte-specific and granular-cell-specific antibodies. Cells within each hematopoietic organ differ in their coherence and in their expression of two plasmatocyte-specific surface proteins, integrin and neuroglian. Within an organ there is no overlap in the expression of these two surface proteins; neuroglian is found on the surfaces of the coherent cells while integrin is expressed on cells that are losing coherence, rounding up, and dispersing. A granular-cell-specific marker for the protein lacunin labels the basal lamina that delimits each organ but only a small number of granular cells that lie on or near the periphery of the hematopoietic organ. When organs are cultured in the absence of hemolymph, all cells derived from hematopoietic organs turn out to immunolabel with the plasmatocyte-specific antibody MS13. The circulating plasmatocytes derived from hematopoietic organs have higher ploidy levels than the granular cells and represent a separate lineage of hemocytes.

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This research was supported by a grant from the National Institutes of Health (1 R01 HL 64657). Charles Mark Bee helped with the scanning and final preparation of the figures. Andy Anderson and Stephanie Shockey carefully formatted the final manuscript. Two anonymous reviewers provided helpful, constructive suggestions for improving this manuscript.

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Correspondence to James B. Nardi.

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Edited by P. Simpson

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Nardi, J.B., Pilas, B., Ujhelyi, E. et al. Hematopoietic organs of Manduca sexta and hemocyte lineages. Dev Genes Evol 213, 477–491 (2003). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00427-003-0352-6

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  • Hemocytes
  • Plasmatocytes
  • Granular cells
  • Hematopoiesis
  • Insect immunity