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Journal of Comparative Physiology A

, Volume 194, Issue 8, pp 763–776

First Online: 24 June 2008Received: 25 March 2008Revised: 27 May 2008Accepted: 28 May 2008


The central complex of acridid grasshoppers integrates sensory information pertinent to reproduction-related acoustic communication. Activation of nitric oxide NO-cyclic GMP-signaling by injection of NO donors into the central complex of restrained Chorthippus biguttulus females suppresses muscarine-stimulated sound production. In contrast, sound production is released by aminoguanidine AG-mediated inhibition of nitric oxide synthase NOS in the central body, suggesting a basal release of NO that suppresses singing in this situation. Using anti-citrulline immunocytochemistry to detect recent NO production, subtypes of columnar neurons with somata located in the pars intercerebralis and tangential neurons with somata in the ventro-median protocerebrum were distinctly labeled. Their arborizations in the central body upper division overlap with expression patterns for NOS and with the site of injection where NO donors suppress sound production. Systemic application of AG increases the responsiveness of unrestrained females to male calling songs. Identical treatment with the NOS inhibitor that increased male song-stimulated sound production in females induced a marked reduction of citrulline accumulation in central complex columnar and tangential neurons. We conclude that behavioral situations that are unfavorable for sound production like being restrained activate NOS-expressing central body neurons to release NO and elevate the behavioral threshold for sound production in female grasshoppers.

KeywordsNitric oxide Central complex Behavior Sound production Grasshopper List of abbreviationsAGAminoguanidine hemisulfate

cGMPCyclic guanosine monophosphate

mAChRMuscarinic acetylcholine receptor

NADPHReduced form of nicotinamide adenine dinucleotide phosphate

NONitric oxide

NOSNitric oxide synthase

PBPhosphate buffer

sGCSoluble guanylate cyclase

SNPSodium nitroprusside

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Autor: Anja Weinrich - Michael Kunst - Andrea Wirmer - Gay R. Holstein - Ralf Heinrich


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