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Eur J Cell Biol. 1990 Dec;53(2):222-6.

Mass dense vacuoles in Drosophila Malpighian tubules contain zinc, not sodium. A reinvestigation by X-ray microanalysis of cryosections.

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  • 1Max-Planck-Institut für Systemphysiologie, Dortmund/Bundesrepublik Deutschland.


The intracellular storage of zinc in Malpighian tubules of Drosophila hydei was studied by X-ray microanalysis of freeze-dried cryosections. Mass dense vacuoles in the proximal region of the anterior larval Malpighian tubule cells were found to accumulate zinc, not sodium. The zinc content was enhanced considerably after addition of zinc to the food of the larvae. Zinc-containing vacuoles were also found after pupation. After starvation of larvae in sea water, Na was detected in these vacuoles in addition to Zn. A small increase of Na and a remarkable increase of Zn was found in the vacuoles after injection of Ringer solution with ouabain into the larvae. Similar vacuoles in cells of untreated posterior tubules exhibit only low zinc levels.

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