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  • Author or Editor: H. Aonuma x
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Cricket brains were incubated in a saline containing nitric oxide (NO)-donor and phosphodiesterase inhibitor IBMX, which could activate soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) to increase cGMP levels in the targets of NO. The increase of cGMP was detected by immunohistochemistry and enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. NO-induced cGMP immunohistochemistry revealed that many cell bodies of cricket brain showed cGMP immunoreactivity when preparations were treated with a saline containing 10 mM NO-donor SNP and phosphodiesterase inhibitor IBMX, but only a few cell bodies showed immunoreactivity when preparations were incubated without NO-donor. The concentration of cGMP in cricket brains were then measured by using cGMP-specific enzyme linked immunosorbent assay. Cricket brains were treated with a saline containing 1 mM of NO-donor NOR3 and 1 mM IBMX. The cGMP levels in the brain were increased about 75% compared to control preparations that was treated with a cricket saline containing IBMX. The level of cGMP decreased about 40% when preparations were incubated NOR3 saline containing sGC inhibitor ODQ. These results indicate that NO activates sGC and increases the levels of cGMP in particular neurons of the cricket brain and that the level of cGMP would be kept a particular level, which might regulate synaptic efficacy in the neurotransmission.

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Biogenic amine serotonin (5-HT) modulates various aspects of behaviors such as aggressive behavior and circadian behavior in the cricket. In our previous report, in order to elucidate the molecular basis of the cricket 5-HT system, we identified three genes involved in 5-HT biosynthesis, as well as four 5-HT receptor genes (5-HT 1A, 5-HT 1B, 5-HT , and 5-HT 7) expressed in the brain of the field cricket Gryllus bimaculatus DeGeer [7]. In the present study, we identified Gryllus 5-HT gene, an additional 5-HT receptor gene expressed in the cricket brain, and examined its tissue-specific distribution and embryonic stagedependent expression. Gryllus 5-HT gene was ubiquitously expressed in the all examined adult tissues, and was expressed during early embryonic development, as well as during later stages. This study suggests functional differences between two 5-HT2 receptors in the cricket.

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The ant, Formica japonica, is polyphagous and workers hunt other insects as foods. In this study, interspecific aggression was examined in the workers and queens. Behavior experiments demonstrated that interspecific aggressiveness was significantly higher in workers than queens. Workers showed predatory aggressive behavior towards crickets, on the other hand, queens elicited threat behavior but they didn’t attack crickets. In order to investigate neuronal mechanisms underlying regulation of aggressive motivation, the role of biogenic amine in the brain in evoking aggressive behavior was examined by measuring biogenic amine using high-performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) with electrochemical detection (ECD). No significant difference in the octopamine (OA) level was found between workers and queens, but the level of N-acetyloctopamine (NacOA) in the brain of queens was significantly higher than that of workers. This study suggests that OAergic system in the brain must involve in controlling aggressive motivation in the ants.

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Aggressive behavior of white-eye mutant crickets was investigated and compared with that of wild-type crickets. In the dark, wild-type pairs performed long-lasting fights with significantly higher aggressive levels compared to those in the light. In contrast, fights between two white-eye mutants were not significantly different with those between two wild-type crickets both in duration and the aggressive levels. Ethograms of aggressive behavior showed that the mutants could show typical sequentially escalating fight with the same behavioral categories as the wild-type crickets. These results indicate that the white-eye mutants are able to express normal aggressive behavior.

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Pheromones are important cues for social insects such as ants. As a first step in elucidation of pheromonal information processing mechanisms in the myrmicine ant, we investigated the morphological structure of the antennal lobe. Using autofluorescence imaging, labeling of neuronal filamentous actin, and reduced silver impregnation staining, the antennal lobe was found to consist of five compartments that, each received input from a different antennal sensory tract. Two major tracts of projection neurons, the medial and lateral antenno-cerebral tract (m-and l-ACT), originated from a different region of the antennal lobe. The m-ACT originated from the posterior part of the antennal lobe whereas the l-ACT originated from the anterior part. These results demonstrate a spatial segregation of function within the antennal lobe.

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A honeybee informs her nestmates of the location of a flower she has visited by a unique behavior called a “waggle dance.” On a vertical comb, the direction of the waggle run relative to gravity indicates the direction to the food source relative to the sun in the field, and the duration of the waggle run indicates the distance to the food source. To determine the detailed biological features of the waggle dance, we observed worker honeybee behavior in the field. Video analysis showed that the bee does not dance in a single or random place in the hive but waggled several times in one place and then several times in another. It also showed that the information of the waggle dance contains a substantial margin of error. Angle and duration of waggle runs varied from run to run, with the range of ±15° and ±15%, respectively, even in a series of waggle dances of a single individual. We also found that most dance followers that listen to the waggle dance left the dancer after one or two sessions of listening.

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A honeybee informs her nestmates of the location of a flower by doing a waggle dance. The waggle dance encodes both the direction of and distance to the flower from the hive. To reveal how the waggle dance benefits the colony, we created a Markov model of bee foraging behavior and performed simulation experiments by incorporating the biological parameters that we obtained from our own observations of real bees as well as from the literature. When two feeders were each placed 400 m away from the hive in different directions, a virtual colony in which honeybees danced and correctly transferred information (a normal, real bee colony) made significantly greater numbers of successful visits to the feeders compared to a colony with inaccurate information transfer. Howerer, when five feeders were each located 400 m from the hive, the inaccurate information transfer colony performed better than the normal colony. These results suggest that dancing’s ability to communicate accurate information depends on the number of feeders. Furthermore, because non-dancing colonies always made significantly fewer visits than those two colonies, we concluded that dancing behavior is beneficial for hives’ ability to visit food sources.

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