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Autophagy. 2006 Oct-Dec;2(4):297-8. Epub 2006 Oct 3.

Autophagy is required for the degeneration of the ovarian follicular epithelium in higher Diptera.

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Faculty of Biology, Department of Cell Biology and Biophysics, University of Athens, Athens, Greece.


Autophagy is a major pathway for the degradation of long-lived proteins and cytoplasmic organelles and an essential part of programmed cell death, as well. Our findings indicate that programmed cell death of the ovarian follicle cells in the higher Diptera species Bactrocera oleae and Ceratitis capitata manifests features of autophagic cell death. The follicle cells during the developmental stage 14 contain autophagic vacuoles and they do not exhibit caspase activity in any area of the egg chamber. Their nuclei are characterized by condensed chromatin, accompanied with high-but not low-molecular weight DNA fragmentation events exclusively detected in distinct cells of the anterior pole. The above results are likely associated with the abundant phagocytosis observed at the entry of the lateral oviducts, where numerous cell bodies are massively engulfed by epithelial cells. The similarity of the cell death process among B. oleae, C. capitata and Drosophila melanogaster species strongly suggests that autophagy-mediated cell death is conserved in higher Diptera species.

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