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Tissue Cell. 1971;3(1):103-26.

The distribution of phenoloxidases and polyphenols during cuticle formation.

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Development Biology Center, Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland, Ohio 44106.


The distribution of phenoloxidase and polyphenols have been studied during cuticle formation at the 4th to 5th molt in Colpodes ethius. Cuticular phenoloxidases arise in the epidermis in cisternae of the rough endoplasmic reticulum, pass through the Golgi complex and are transported to the apical face in secretory vesicles. From the cuticular environment some enzyme is pinocytosed and broken down in the apical multivesicular bodies. Phenoloxidase and polyphenols are present during the formation of the cuticulin layer which also reacts as if it were at least partly composed of a phenoloxidase. The rest of the epicuticle incorporates phenoloxidase as it is deposited, particularly that over the dorsal tubercles which later melanize. Polyphenols do not appear until shortly before ecdysis. They are associated with the epicuticular filaments in both epicuticle and presumptive epocuticle. It is proposed that the epicuticular filaments may arise as liquid crystals with a protein component which becomes stabilized like the rest of the cuticle. These structures could provide a channel for the movement of both lipids and quinones to the surface. Phenoloxidases may pass through fibrous cuticle to be deposited as part of the epicuticle but are incorporated in fibrous cuticle scheduled for sclerotization. The time of stabilization is determined by the availability of polyphenols.

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