Neurotransmitters and Neuropeptides in the Olfactory Pathway of the Sphinx Moth Manduca Sexta
Like other animals, insects have many and diverse chemical “messengers” in their nervous systems. A growing list of synaptic neurotransmitters, neuromodulators, neuropeptides, and neurohormones -- collectively “transmitters” -- prompts efforts to seek physiological roles and mechanisms of action for these substances. An improved understanding of these chemical messengers in the insect nervous system promises to reveal key regulatory mechanisms, novel and accessible targets for pharmacological agents, and phyletic differences that can be exploited in new approaches to the manipulation of insect behavior and the selective destruction of harmful populations of insect pests and disease vectors. Toward such goals, we study the biochemistry, cellular distribution, and physiological actions of transmitter candidates in an experimentally favorable insect “model”, the sphinx moth Manduca sexta. In contrast with significant advances that have been made in many laboratories investigating peripheral neural and neuromuscular systems, relatively much less is known about chemical signalling in the insect central nervous system (CNS). With this in mind, and building upon substantial previous and ongoing studies of the anatomy, physiology, and development of the insect CNS in many laboratories including our own, we focus on the cellular neurochemistry of the CNS in Manduca. In particular we are exploring the olfactory pathway in the brain, for which we have accumulated much information about the types of neurons and their functional organization and development (e.g. see recent reviews: Hildebrand, 1985; Hildebrand and Montague, 1986; Christensen and Hildebrand, 1987).
KeywordsSerotonin Histamine Acetylcholine Tyramine Timothy
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