Expression of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors and choline acetyltransferase enzyme in cultured antennal sensory neurons and non-neural cells of the developing moth Manduca sexta

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Abstract

Antennal sensory neurons of Manduca sexta emerge from epidermal cells that also give rise to sheath cells surrounding the peripheral parts of the neurons and to glial cells that enwrap the sensory axons in the antennal nerve. Reciprocal interactions between sensory neurons and glial cells are believed to aid in axon growth and guidance, but the exact nature of these interactions is not known. We investigated the possibility of cholinergic interactions in this process by locating muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (mAChRs) and choline acetyltransferase (ChAT) enzyme in cultured antennal sensory neurons and non-neural cells. ChAT and mAChRs were present in the sensory neurons from the first day in culture. Therefore, the sensory neurons are probably cholinergic, as previously suggested, but they may also be controlled by ACh. In 7-day-old cultures a subgroup of small non-neural cells with processes expressed ChAT activity, and in 14-day-old cultures non-neural cells that formed lamellipodia and scaffoldlike structures on the culture substrate were labeled with ChAT antibody. mAChR activity was detected in similar non-neural cells but only in areas surrounding the nuclei. In addition, mAChRs were found in flat lamellipodia and filopodia forming cells that were present in 1-day-old cultures and grew in size during the 2 week investigation period. These findings suggest muscarinic cholinergic interactions between the neural and non-neural cells during the development of Manduca antenna. © 2004 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Neurobiol, 2005

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