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Cell Tissue Res. 1975;156(4):463-74.

Aspects of furrow membrane formation in the cleaving Drosophila embryo.


During blastoderm formation, the Drosophila embryo produces a large area of new membrane to accommodate the simultaneous demands of approximately four thousand newly cleaved cells. The embryo was examined with the electron microscope at various stages during cleavage in order to investigate the high membrane forming capacity of these cells. Embryos were subjected to the histochemical procedure for the demonstration of thiamine pyrophosphatase. The enzyme was present in the cisternae of the endoplasmic reticulum, Golgi bodies and the nuclear envelope. No activity could be demonstrated on the furrow surface or at the furrow tip despite closely adjacent reactive cisternae. It is concluded that the endoplasmic reticulum and Golgi bodies are not major contributors to the new surface. Lamellar bodies were frequently observed in the cytoplasm of all stages examined. The bodies showed a lamellar periodicity of approximately 3.5 nm, and were ultrastructurally similar in appearance after a variety of fixation procedures. The distribution of these bodies was markedly related to the stage of blastoderm formation. Before the commencement of cleavage, lamellar bodies were very prominent within a region 4--5 mum below the cell surface. As cleavage progressed, the bodies became sparse or absent from this region but were apparent at the base of the blastoderm cells or in the sub-blastoderm region, where they were not previously present. Lamellar bodies with leaflets closely associated with, or in apparent continuity with, the cleavage furrow membrane were frequently observed. In these regions the lamellar periodicity was the same as the thickness of the membrane laminae. It is suggested that these bodies play a role in the synthesis of new membrane in the furrow. Intercellular contact specializations between the developing membranes of the furrow were restricted to incipient desmosones and point contacts where the intercellular gap was reduced to 3 nm or less.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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