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Autophagy. 2008 Jan;4(1):97-100. Epub 2007 Oct 25.

Different modes of programmed cell death during oogenesis of the silkmoth Bombyx mori.

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


It is increasingly recognized that programmed cell death includes not only apoptosis and autophagy, but also other types of nonapoptotic cell death, such as paraptosis, which are all characterized by distinct morphological features. Our findings indicate that all three types of programmed cell death occur in the ovarian nurse cell cluster during late vitellogenesis (formation of the egg yolk) of Bombyx mori (Lepidoptera), whereas middle vitellogenesis is exclusively characterized by the presence of a nonapoptotic type of cell death, known as paraptosis. During middle vitellogenesis, nurse cells exhibit clearly cytoplasmic vacuolization, as revealed by ultrastructural examination performed through conventional light and transmission electron microscopy, while no signs of apoptotic or autophagic features are detectable. Moreover, nurse cells of developmental stages 7, 8 and 9 contain autophagic compartments, as well as apoptotic characteristics, such as condensed chromatin, fragmented DNA and activated caspases, as revealed by in vitro assays. We propose that paraptosis precedes both apoptosis and autophagy during vitellogenesis, since its initial activation is detectable during middle vitellogenesis, whereas no apoptotic nor autophagic features are observed. In contrast, at the late stages of Bombyx mori oogenesis, paraptosis, autophagy and apoptosis operate synergistically, resulting in a more efficient elimination of the degenerated nurse cells.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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