Parallel organization in honey bee mushroom bodies by peptidergic Kenyon cells

Nicholas J. Strausfeld, Uwe Homburg, Peter Kloppenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


Antisera against the neuromodulatory peptides, Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH2- amide (FMRF-amide) and gastrin cholecystokinin, demonstrate that the mushroom bodies of honey bees are subdivided longitudinally into strata. Three- dimensional reconstructions demonstrate that these strata project in parallel through the entire pedunculus and through the medial and vertical lobes. Immunostaining reveals clusters of immunoreactive cell bodies within the calyx cups and immunoreactive bundles of axons that line the inside of the calyx cup and lead to strata. Together, these features reveal that immunoreactive strata are composed of Kenyon cell axons rather than extrinsic elements, as suggested previously by some authors. Sorting amongst Kenyon cell axons into their appropriate strata already begins in the calyx before these axons enter the pedunculus. The three main concentric divisions of each calyx (the lip, collar, and basal ring) are divided further into immunoreactive and immunonegative zones. The lip neuropil is divided into two discrete zones, the collar neuropil is divided into five zones, and the basal ring neuropil is divided into four zones. Earlier studies proposed that the lip, collar, and basal ring are represented by three broad bands in the lobes: axons from adjacent Kenyon cell dendrites in the calyces are adjacent in the lobes even after their polar arrangements in the calyces have been transformed to rectilinear arrangements in the lobes. The universality of this arrangement is not supported by the present results. Although immunoreactive zones are found in all three calycal regions, immunoreactive strata in the lobes occur mainly in the two bands that were ascribed previously to the collar and the basal ring. In the lobes, immunoreactive strata are visited by the dendrites of efferent neurons that carry information from the mushroom bodies to other parts of the brain. Morphologically and chemically distinct subdivisions through the pedunculus and lobes of honey bees are comparable to longitudinal subdivisions demonstrated in the mushroom bodies of other insects, such as the cockroach Periplaneta americana. The functional and evolutionary significance of the results is discussed. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)179-195
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Aug 14 2000


  • Apis mellifera
  • Efferent neurons
  • Gastrin cholecystokinin
  • Insect brain
  • Kenyon cells
  • Parallel processing
  • Phe-Met-Arg-Phe-NH-amide
  • Sensory representation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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