Specification of neural precursor identity in the geophilomorph centipede Strigamia maritima

Ariel D. Chipman, Angelika Stollewerk*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Despite differences in the formation of neural precursors, all arthropod species analyzed so far generate about 30 single precursors (insects/ crustaceans) or precursor groups (chelicerates/myriapods) per hemi-segment. In Drosophila, each precursor has a distinct identity conferred by segment polarity and dorso-ventral patterning genes that subdivide the ventral neuroectoderm into a grid-like structure. Temporal patterning mechanisms generate additional diversity after delamination from the neuroectoderm. Previous work shows that the genetic network involved in recruitment and specification of neural precursors is conserved in arthropods. However, comparative studies on generation of precursor diversity are few and partial. Here, we test whether aspects of the Drosophila model may apply in the geophilomorph centipede Strigamia maritima. We describe precursor formation, based on morphology and on Delta and Notch expression. We then show that in S. maritima, hunchback and Krüppel are expressed in subsets of neural precursors generating distinct temporal expression domains within the plane of the neuroectoderm. This expression pattern suggests that temporal changes in spatial patterning cues may result in the ordered production of different neural identities. We suggest that temporal patterning mechanisms were present in the last common ancestor of arthropods, although the regulatory interactions of transcription factors might have diverged in the lineage leading to insects.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)337-350
Number of pages14
JournalDevelopmental Biology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 15 Feb 2006
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank Michael Akam and Pat Simpson for providing support and lab space. Thanks to Wallace Arthur and Carlo Brena for participating in embryo collection. Adrian Friday helped with the analysis of the Strigamia maritima Notch sequence, and with the identification of specific homologies. We are grateful to Pat Simpson, Michael Akam, Savita Ayyar, and Sylvain Marcellini for critical comments on the manuscript. This project was funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (A.S.) and the Wellcome Trust (P.S.). A.D.C. was funded by a FEBS long-term research fellowship and by BBSRC.


  • Arthropod
  • Myriapod
  • Neurogenesis
  • Precursor identity
  • Temporal identity


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