The organization of the luminescent organ of an adult firefly has been studied with the electron microscope, and particular attention has been given to the disposition of nerve terminals within the organ. The cytological structure of the cells of the tracheal system, the peripheral and terminal axons, the photocytes and the cells of the dorsal ("reflecting") layer is described. Previous observations on the peripheral course of nerve branches alongside the tracheal trunks at the level of the dorsal layer and photocyte epithelium have been confirmed, and specialised nerve endings containing axoplasmic components structurally identical with "synaptic vesicles" and "neurosecretory droplets" have been identified, not in association with the surface of the photocytes, but lying between the apposed surfaces of two components of the tracheal epithelium: the tracheal end-cell and the tracheolar cell. These cytological findings are discussed in terms of available biochemical and physiological evidence concerning the mechanism of light emission in the firefly, especially with respect to the possible role of chemical "transmitter" action in triggering a response in a luminescent effector system.
Article| February 01 1963
THE ORGANIZATION AND INNERVATION OF THE LUMINESCENT ORGAN IN A FIREFLY, PHOTURIS PENNSYLVANICA (COLEOPTERA)
David S. Smith
From The Rockefeller Institute, New York, and the Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, England.
Dr. Smith's present address is the University of Cambridge
Received: August 20 1962
Online ISSN: 1540-8140
Print ISSN: 0021-9525
Copyright, 1963, by The Rockefeller Institute Press
David S. Smith; THE ORGANIZATION AND INNERVATION OF THE LUMINESCENT ORGAN IN A FIREFLY, PHOTURIS PENNSYLVANICA (COLEOPTERA) . J Cell Biol 1 February 1963; 16 (2): 323–359. doi: https://doi.org/10.1083/jcb.16.2.323
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