The purpose of this study was to investigate the arrangement of cytoskeletal elements and organelles in an identified neuron in situ at the site of emergence of its growth cone just before and concurrent with the onset of axonogenesis. The Ti1 pioneer neurons are the first pair of afferent neurons to differentiate in embryonic grasshopper limbs. They arise at the distal tip of the limb bud epithelium, the daughter cells of a single precursor cell, the Pioneer Mother Cell (PMC). Using immunohistochemical markers, we characterized the organization of microtubules, centrosomes, Golgi apparatus, midbody, actin filaments, and chromatin from mitosis in the PMC through axonogenesis in the Tils. Just before and concurrent with the onset of axonogenesis, a characteristic arrangement of tubulin, actin filaments, and Golgi apparatus is localized at the proximal pole of the proximal pioneer neuron. The growth cone of the proximal cell stereotypically arises from this site. Although the distal cell's axon generally grows proximally, occasionally it arises from its distal pole; in such limbs, the axons from the sister cells extend from mirror symmetric locations on their somata. In the presence of cytochalasin D, the PMC undergoes nuclear division but not cytokinesis and although other neuronal phenotypes are expressed, axongenesis is inhibited. Our data suggest that intrinsic information determines the site of growth cone emergence of an identified neuron in situ.

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