- Reviewing EditorAriel AmirWeizmann Institute of Science, Israel
- Senior EditorClaude DesplanNew York University, United States of America
Reviewer #1 (Public Review):
This article is interested in how butterfly, or more precisely, butterfly wing scale precursor cells, each make precisely patterned ultrastructures made of chitin.
To do this, the authors sought to use the butterfly Parides eurimedes, a papilionid swallowtail, that carries interesting, unusual structures made of 1) vertical ridges, that lack a typical layered stacking arrangement; and 2) deep honeycomb-like pores (rather than. These two features make the organism chosen a good point of comparison with previous studies, including classic papers that relied on electronic microscopy (SEM/TEM), and more recent confocal microscopy studies.
The article shows good microscopy data, including detailed, dense developmental series of staining in the Parides eurimedes model. The mix of cell membrane staining, chitin precursor, and F-actin staining is well utilized and appropriately documented with the held of 3D-SIM, a microscopy technique considered to provide super-resolution (here needed to visualize sub-cellular processes).
The key message from this article is that F-actin filaments are later repurposed, in papilionid butterflies, to finish the patterning of the inter-ridge space, elaborating new structures (this was not observed so far in other studies and organisms). The model proposed in Figure 6 summarized these findings well, with F-actin reshaping itself into a tulip that likely pulls down a chitin disk to form honeycombs. These interpretations of the microscopy data are interesting and novel.
There are two other points of interest, that deserve future investigation:
The authors performed immunolocalizations of Arp2 and pharmacological inhibitions of Arp2/3, and found some possible effect on honeycomb lattice development. The inter-ridge region of the butterfly Papilio polytes, which lacks these structures, did not seem to be affected by drug treatments. Effects were time-dependent, which makes sense. These data provide circumstantial evidence that Arp2/3 is involved in the late role of F-actin formation or re-organisation.
The authors perform a comparative study in additional papilionids (Fig. 6 in particular). I find these data to be quite limited without a dense sampling, but they are nonetheless interesting and support a second-phase role of F-actin re-organisation.
The article is dense, well produced and succinctly written. I believe this is an interesting and insightful study on a complex process of cell biology, that inspires us to look at basic phenomena in a broader set of organisms.
Reviewer #2 (Public Review):
The manuscript by Seah and Saranathan investigates the cell-based growth mechanism of so called honeycomb-structures in the upper lamina of papilionid wing scales by investigating a number of different species. The authors chose Parides eurimedes as a focus species with the developmental pathway of five other papilionid as a comparative backup. Through state-of-the-art microscopy images of different developmental steps, the authors find that the intricate f-actin filaments reorganise, support cuticular discs that template the air holes that form the honeycomb lattice.
The revised manuscript is well written and easy to follow, yet based on a somewhat limited sample size for their focus species, limiting attempts to suppress expression and alter structure shape. I have no further comments.